BREAKING: Santorum to speak at Hillsdale, other candidates invited

by Marieke van der Vaart on February 16, 2012

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will speak on campus Monday night, Hillsdale College administrators and representatives from his campaign confirmed.
Students have also invited Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney to speak at what could be the college’s first presidential candidate symposium. At press time, their campaigns had not committed to the event.

Santorum said he was looking forward to visiting Hillsdale to participate in the forum.

“I am excited to share my  vision for a brighter America, and the life experiences that have helped shape those  positions,” Santorum said.

The Hillsdale College Constitution Symposium, a coalition of students representing campus groups, is sponsoring the event which will take place at the Jesse Phillips Arena on Feb. 20.

College President Larry Arnn said the administration approved of students’ plans to bring candidates onto campus.

“We have agreed that this is a good thing to the extent that it does not disrupt the work of the college,” Arnn wrote in a statement. “Of course the college takes no position on who should be elected president.”

Senior Opinions Editor Elliot Gaiser, president of Students in Free Enterprise and chair of the Constitution Symposium, said he approached Santorum’s campaign over Christmas break to gauge the former Pennsylvania senator’s interest in coming to campus before the Michigan presidential primary on Feb. 28.

“Forums such as this are a great way for voters to learn where the candidates stand,” Santorum said.

Students from the Hillsdale College Republicans, the Classical Liberal Organization, and SIFE are collaborating to put on the event, Gaiser said.

“My hope is this will shine a bright light on what candidates believe about the Constitution, and influence the presidential race to focus on the document we expect our next president to protect and defend,” Gaiser said.

Before last semester’s Herman Cain event, Hillsdale had never hosted a presidential candidate, College Historian Arlan Gilbert said.

Although both Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt visited Hillsdale, neither of them was a candidate for the White House at the time, Gilbert said.

Sources close to candidate Ron Paul’s campaign indicated that the Texas congressman is not likely to attend Monday’s event, due to scheduling logistics. Almost 200 students and alumni have signed an on-line petition asking him to come to Hillsdale.

The campaigns of Gingrich and Romney would not comment on their plans.

Gaiser said the event will play an important role in the Michigan primary, which in turn could significantly affect the presidential race.

“The Michigan primary is like the Gettysburg of the campaign,” Gaiser said. “A victory here could be decisive for Super Tuesday just seven days later. Additionally, Michigan could be in play for the GOP this election cycle, so the strength of a candidate’s victory matters.”

 

UPDATE: Event organizers said the event will take place at 8 p.m. and is open to Hillsdale students, faculty, and the public by invitation only. To request invitations, please e-mail  PresCandidateSymposium@Hillsdale.edu.


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brad Hubert February 16, 2012 at 12:49 am

Dr. Gilbert may have forgotten that Ron Paul spoke at the college in 1988 when he was the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party. Additionally, Mitt Romney spoke at Hillsdale in 2007 during the run-up to his 2008 campaign.

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2 Dean February 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

O good, maybe someone can give him a copy of the Constitution and the declaration of independence, because he has clearly read neither…

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3 David February 17, 2012 at 11:44 am

^ Fantastic comment, Dean! Santorum is not a conservative, not does he plan to uphold the Constitution. Why he was asked to speak at Hillsdale College on this day (or at all!) is beyond my comprehension. I only wish I could attend. However, I trust there will be a good representation of true Conservatives and Constitutionalists in attendance to question Mr. Santorum’s ideas and beliefs.

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4 Ross February 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

Mitt Romney formally announced his candidacy a few months before he gave his campaign spiel at the 2007 commencement.

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5 Mike February 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I agree with you Ross. I was very disappointed the Governor could not distingquish between a campaign stop and and conservative college commencement. Hans Zeiger, however, did not disappoint!

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6 Kyle Forti February 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

The petition to get Dr. Paul to come speak at Hillsdale was more like 600, not 200.

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7 Cassie February 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

What time?!

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8 James Galloway February 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

The article fails to mention what time the event will be on Monday night and whether or not it is open to the public. I’m guessing 7:00 p.m. and yes. Any clues?

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9 Mary Coran February 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

The Hillsdale Collegian’s Facebook page included the following update:

“Event organizers said the event will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20, and is open to Hillsdale students, faculty, and the public by invitation only. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more.”

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10 GOP Hicks February 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

What time is this event and are there tickets available?

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11 Jeff King February 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Regarding the Ron Paul visit.

From what I collected on the student Ron Paul facebook site was the following:

1. The Administration set down a specific date and format for Dr. Paul’s visit, before even knowing Dr. Paul’s schedule. It was to be a multi-candidate event. Dr. Paul wasn’t even in the state then.

2. The leadership of the local college Ron Paul group just went along with this without question and ignored the mandate set down in the petition, which only called for getting Ron Paul on campus, not all 4 candidates.

3. Dr. Paul was willing to visit the campus, but only when he was in Michigan.

4. The leadership of the local Ron Paul college group kept the local community Ron Paul group in the dark, who I might add got the highest vote percentage for Ron Paul in the state in 2008 and consist of many alumni. They also were able to work around similar administration unreasonable demands, in booking the Dow Center in 2008 for a Ron Paul rally.

5. If you question any of this, or suggest workarounds to get Dr. Paul on campus still, you are banned from college Ron Paul group. It was getting ugly there. They closed membership to the group this morning as well.

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12 Kevin Hannity February 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

The fact that Dr. Paul is not able to visit is neither on behalf of the students or the local community group, the college set up the date. Dr. Paul is speaking in South Dakota on the 20th and apparently he doesn’t have much confidence on winning MI. You’re speaking as if the student Ron Paul facebook group is some powerful political organization that can control the schedules of both RP & the college, yet its a group of less than 200 Hillsdale students. BTW the facebook group was not getting ugly, but you certainly enjoyed attacking students and placing the blame on them, when in reality the students are the only reason a candidate would ever visit south-central MI.

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13 It's me! February 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

In reference to the Update: Does that mean they’ll be checking ID’s?

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14 Jeff King February 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Kevin, if the local organization hadn’t been shut out of the process, the same local organization that gave Dr. Paul the largest vote percentage in the state in 2008, and successfully got a Ron Paul rally on campus in 2008, I wouldn’t have complained. Even the paper in an earlier story said the two groups were working together.

Students are at a distinct disadvantage at times working with the administration, and having co-sponsors outside the college can be key in prying doors a little more open. The date was set before the candidate even agreed to come.

That said, after I posted the above, one of the students contacted me and disclosed a key fact to me, that the college group was instructed to keep the local group out of the loop. As such, it was outside their control, and in talking to another one, I could tell they were not pleased with the request.

Obviously, I hadn’t considered something as absurd as that, although I fully believe the student. So, both to you, this list as well as the student organization, I offer my full and complete apology for any indignation I may have displayed while at the same time standing behind the facts I earlier posted.

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15 Cary M. Champion '89 February 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Rick Santorum claims himself an American Exceptionalist. One of those exceptional principles is federalism, succinctly expressed by the 10th Amendment. Based on debates I’ve seen he has little faith in this concept. He wants to amend the constitution and centralize authority over morality. More evidence he’s big government.

While I basically agree that abortion is immoral, I support Ron Paul’s idea of removing the matter from federal courts and returning determination to the state level.

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16 I Was Tricked February 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Wait, the Classical Liberals group is involved in this?
Ugh. They used to be cool.

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17 dusty timberman February 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I would love to see Rick Santorum at the college and wanted to know if there will be seats or areas open or places for purchase or anything??? please contact me as soon as possible. Thanks

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18 Marieke van der Vaart February 16, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Hi Dusty,

Please e-mail PresCandidateSymposium@Hillsdale.edu to request a ticket.

Thanks!
The Collegian

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19 Cary M. Champion '89 February 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Sounds like an excellent opportunity for Ron Paul sign waving near the college field house.

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20 Elyssa February 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm

No one has answered my email about getting seats. Is there a number I need to call or…?

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21 joe February 19, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Too bad folks. He cancelled. Rick will be in Grand Rapids MI instead of at your event.

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22 Jeff King February 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

So now maybe the guy that keeps his word and offered to visit the college can be worked with in the scope of his schedule? Paul will be in Michigan 25th, 26th and 27th and only a few events have been announced so far.

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23 Natalie Scarlett March 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

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