Biden speaks in front of select group at DSU

DOVER — U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke to America from Delaware State University via livestream Friday, a 13-minute speech witnessed in person by a select group that included media, campaign staff and DSU representatives.

Vice President Biden’s staff sought out the DSU campus as a venue for his speech to the nation, in which he targeted President Donald Trump’s economic and COVID-19 pandemic responses.

“The university did not solicit Biden’s visit to campus,” said DSU spokesman Steve Newton. “Biden’s campaign staff reached out to the university, as they needed a venue that would be large enough to hold him, the campaign staff, press corps, (audiovisual) staff and other visitors with correct social distancing.”

On hand live for Vice President Biden’s speech were eight DSU representatives and guests: Dawn Mosley, DSU executive director of marketing and communications; Tara Givens Anderson, a DSU guest; Jackie Griffith, DSU director of government and community relations; Darrell McMillon, DSU chief information officer; Vita Pickrum, DSU Foundation president; Devona Williams, DSU Board of Trustees chair; Harry Downes, DSU chief of police; and Tony Allen, president of the university.

“Today, Delaware State University hosted former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States, for a speech to the nation,” said Dr. Allen. “Due to required safety measures under the current state of emergency — and our campus access policies during the pandemic — live access to the event was limited to campaign staff, security personnel and a press group.”

Dr. Allen noted that as a U.S. senator from Delaware for many years, before becoming vice president, Mr. Biden has a long history with Delaware State University.

“Whether it was our rise to university status in 1995, the addition of graduate programs or the enhancement of research funding, he has always been there,” Dr. Allen said.

There is no endorsement linked to Vice President Biden’s appearance, officials said.

“In our 129-year history, we have never endorsed a candidate for an elective office,” said Dr. Allen. “Delaware State University routinely hosts candidates of all parties to our campus for a fair airing of their views. We would accept a similar request from the presidential nominee of any party ballot-qualified in the state of Delaware.”

Delaware State News staff writer Brooke Schultz contributed to this story.