Humphrey School cancels lecture by potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg

The school cited University of Minnesota policy and federal law as reasons for the decision.

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs as seen on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Nur B. Adam

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs as seen on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Samantha Hendrickson

On Friday, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs announced the cancellation of a lecture featuring former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg in light of his potential bid for the presidency of the United States, citing University of Minnesota policy and federal law. 

Though Bloomberg hasn’t officially announced his candidacy, the Humphrey School said that the “increased likelihood” of his presidential campaign has required that the school “reassess” the decision to host Bloomberg. The school cited University policy and federal law, which the school said prohibits the University from “engaging in activity that may support a current presidential candidate.”

In order to remain tax-exempt under federal law, the University cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

The lecture would have been part of the Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series, a longtime Humphrey School staple which has featured the likes of the Dalai Lama, activist Coretta Scott King and three former United States presidents in Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. 

The cancellation follows presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ recent campaign rally on campus, which took place at Williams Arena on Nov. 3.

The Humphrey School said that political rallies are allowed on University of Minnesota campuses because the expenses are paid by the campaigns. For Bloomberg’s lecture, however, the University would have covered some of the costs. 

Bloomberg’s replacement will be announced in January.