University of Houston chosen to host GOP debate in February

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The GOP candidates for president will debate the issues here in Houston in February, according to the University of Houston. (KTRK)

The GOP candidates for president will debate the issues here in Houston in February, according to the University of Houston.

The debate, sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, will be on February 26. It will be the final GOP debate before Super Tuesday primaries in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia on March 1.

The news was met with mixed reactions on campus, but largely excitement.

"I'm a Republican, so I'm excited for that debate to come here," says sophomore Tanna Vayon.

"It's an honor for the university to have something so prestigious here on campus," adds freshman Matthew Stell.

"I was really excited that all these TV channels were going to come here," says junior Peraza. "But I was not excited about it being Republican."

"Diversity is more than our demographics at the University of Houston - it's our commitment to expression, varied viewpoints, and the belief that challenging the status quo produces the strongest innovation," said University of Houston System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator. "This debate comes at a pivotal moment in the election cycle. We're delighted to host a national conversation with real-life impact on our community and country, and welcome an evening of engaging discourse to our campus."

Students agree that it's kind of a big deal that the final debate heading into what could be considered Campaign D-Day is at UH.

"Some people who may not have been paying attention to the primary election or campaign may watch this particular debate and say 'hey whoever does well in this debate, I might vote for,'" Stell says.

But not everyone is stoked. Gabby Peraza says one candidate in particular is anti-everything UH, especially the diversity that makes it so unique. He's talking about none other than Donald Trump.

"Everyone is very much welcome and has a place here. The philosophy that Trump is promoting is quite the opposite of that. It's telling me, my family, my friends that we do not have a place here. The fact that he's going to touch this land is quite offending me," Peraza said.

At this point the Republican National Committee and the TV networks hosting the debate haven't decided a location on campus for the debate. Options include facilities inside the Student Center, Cullen Performance Hall, Wortham Theatre, and Moores Opera House.

Ticket information, format, and the moderator are also to be determined.

The university has set up a website with information about the debate, and will update it as more details are finalized. You can check out www.uh.edu/debate.
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