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Crowd enjoys debate





Fort Hays State University students had mixed reactions to the Monday debate between Rick Santorum and Howard Dean on their campus.

The evening's conversation touched on several topics affecting college students such as student loans, abortion and health care.

Melanie Smith, an FHSU senior, said she thought the program was good, and she enjoys debates and politics. Smith said she is a supporter of Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania.

"I'm a conservative, so I agree with a lot of his stance. The only thing I don't agree with is how he feels about abortion. But other than that, everything he said I completely agree with," Smith said.

Arynne Smallback, a Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science senior, said the program's most contentious moment was her favorite.

"I think it was very good when they got into the debate about abortion because it is a hot topic, and I think people really need to think about it more than they do," Smallback said.

Aside from the abortion debate, the men were considerate of each other, she said.

"They were very respectable of each other, which is something you don't usually get," Smallback said.

Anna Hand, an FHSU sophomore and president of the university's Young Democrats organization, said the debate was relevant to college students. Hand disagreed with Santorum's assertion Obamacare is going to harm the younger generations.

"I don't know how much brunt there is going to be to bear just because that's something that's going to help us all," Hand said.

"I believe, personally, that Obamacare is going to cut health care costs, and it's going to help us in the long run."

Cooper Slough, a freshman at FHSU, said he attended the debate to explore other political philosophies.

"I like to look at both sides of an issue and kind of decide where I fall," Slough said. "I identify with the left more since I'm a younger student, and I identify with more of their ideals. But I'm open to the idea that I could be wrong and there are alternative beliefs or ideologies."