Santorum to speak at Hillsdale Monday evening

When Rick Santorum speaks at Hillsdale College Monday night, it will not be about foreign policy, trade wars, or even abortion. He will speak about the Constitution of the United States of America.

Students at Hillsdale College invited GOP hopefuls Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to speak at the college about the Constitution in a nationally broadcasted symposium.

Breathe a sigh of relief now – this is not another debate.  Each candidate will have 15 minutes to speak about the Constitution, have a few minutes for questions, and leave the stage to the next candidate.

So far, only Santorum has been confirmed to speak.

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

Elliot Gaiser, a senior at Hillsadale College, said the symposium will be “an educational event for students and for the nation.”

Gaiser is president of Students for Free Enterprise (SIFE), a student-led group that been the primary sponsor of the event. Other student groups that have co-sponsored it are the College Republicans and the Hilldsale College Collegian.

The tightly-knit group of students that paved the way for the symposium has experience with presidential candidates: last fall, they brought Herman Cain to campus to speak about national security.

After Cain spoke on campus, Gaiser recalls, “We thought, well, we had one candidate [on campus], why can’t we invite the others?”

And invite they did. The students worked frantically through Christmas break to contact the campaigns, sending out invitations and working around the clock, even while they attended CPAC in Washington, D.C. They hit roadblocks when some candidates told the student group that they would wait for a reply from Santorum before committing to come, said Gaiser.

“The fact that we confirmed Senator Santorum and announced that confirmation yesterday has been the most exciting moment so far.”

Gaiser is looking forward to hearing all the candidates’ views on the Constitution, calling the document “one of the most fundamental aspects of our republic.”

“All of them,” he continued, “have taken an oath to protect and defend this document, and what that means to them ought to be for us as citizens of this country the most important question.”

The event will be open to all students and faculty, as well as community members by special invitation. Questions from students will be screened before the event and put to the candidates by a panel of the most prominent student leaders that put the symposium together.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for students,” Gaiser said.

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