Students at Hofstra University watching the debate at campus watch parties cheered as President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney took the stage Tuesday night.
It wasn't for any specific candidate, but more for the reality that this pivotal political moment was playing out -- again -- at their Hempstead campus. The debate was the second presidential debate held at the campus in four years, and that momentous fact wasn't lost on the student body.
"I'm just real, real excited about it," Hofstra student Ingrid Gutierrez told NBC 4 New York.
Three hundred Hofstra students won tickets to the debate through a lottery. The university said more than 6,500 students submitted their names for the chance to get a coveted seat to the showdown.
Classes were canceled Tuesday, giving students the opportunity to attend campus-sponsored events as the whole university buzzed with excitement.
Off-campus, though, some protesters clashed with police.
Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the Green Party candidates for president and vice president, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct as they tried to enter the debate site.
The Green Party says in a statement that Stein and Honkala were walking with supporters toward the Hofstra campus Tuesday afternoon when they were met by uniformed police officers. Stein and Honkala then held an impromptu press conference in which Stein called the debate a "mockery of democracy."
A third person was later charged with disorderly conduct.
Back at the watch parties, students noted an edgy tone between the candidates that was lacking in the first debate.
"I think Obama's doing a great," said Danielle Kent. "He's actually defending himself unlike he did in the last debate."
"I think Obama's a lot more aggressive than he was in the first debate," said Ray McGrath. "Romney's also doing what he has to in being firm."