Nicollet Plans Lawsuit Against Hamline University for Debate Exclusion

Press Conference planned: Hannah Nicollet will hold a joint press conference at 8 a.m. Sunday, one hour before the Hamline/Fox 9 gubernatorial debate, on the sidewalk of Hewitt Avenue (map attached), in view of Klas Center. She will discuss the pending lawsuit and be joined by candidates from the Independence Party, Libertarian Party, Green Party and Grassroots Party.


Independence Party Candidate for Governor Hannah Nicollet plans to file a lawsuit in federal court against Hamline University for her exclusion from Sunday morning’s gubernatorial debate, which is being held at the Klas Center on the Hamline campus. IP candidate Tom Horner, who also had major party status, was included four years ago, but Nicollet was excluded from this year’s debate.

A two-person debate contradicts the university’s own policies, and it also appears to violate Hamline’s 501(3)(c) status:

The IRS notes that, “501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”  Furthermore, it notes that, “…voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.” 

Most of the tickets to Sunday’s forum are going to Hamline students and the event has always been advertised as a partnership between Fox-9 News and Hamline.

When notified that Hamline was violating its nonprofit status and its own policies by excluding Nicollet, the university changed the wording on its webpage Friday night from “partnering” to “hosting” the debate and also added that it was “renting” the space to Fox-9 News.

Media Contact: Shannon Fiecke (612) 465-9523

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