Hampton U. debate watchers stunned by Trump-Clinton clash

By Mallory Beard

Last night's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump drew in crowds by the masses. At Hampton University, students and administrators flooded the Student Center theater and atrium in order to view the nationally televised event and watched the two candidates charge head-to-head with their proposals.

At right, Raelynn Hawkins [foreground] watches presidential candidates' debate from the Student Center atrium. [Photo by Mecca Evans]

Some students were taken aback by the candidate's statements. "I couldn't believe when he compared us to the likes of a third-world country," said Devon Van Dyke, a varsity football player. Van Dyke said he was befuddled by Trump's statement, deeming it "disrespectful to the advancement of Americans."

Some students and staff experienced different emotions after the debate concluded. Tracey Bumphus, a Chick-Fil-A employee at the Hampton U. campus, caught the tail end of the heated battle and observed what she called "absurdity" while listening to Trump in comparison to his female adversary.

"She [Clinton] possesses class and seemed to choose her words carefully," said Bumphus.

The next presidential debate on Oct. 9 will commence at 9 p.m. EST on Washington University's campus in St. Louis.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Overflow Hampton U. crowd watched Trump-Clinton debate

By Kyla Wright

Thirty minutes before first debate Monday night between U.S. presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Hampton University students filled the Student Center theater to standing-room-only capacity by 8:30 p.m.

At right, Hampton U. students watch the presidential candidates' debate from Student Center atrium. An overflow crowd packed the Student Center theater Monday night. [Photo by Mecca Evans]

Des'Tini LaGrone, a junior journalism major, Spanish minor from St. Louis, said, "I hope that a lot of students are tuning in, because this is not only affecting our future, but our children's futures as well." LaGrone said she focused on hearing about the candidates' views on student loan debt and education overall.

The Greer Dawson Student Leadership Training Program and the Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted, "Dissecting the Debate: Watch and Discuss."

Representatives from Planned Parenthood urged students to remain informed and involved in this election. They also asked for volunteers for the Hillary Clinton campaign office in the Harbors Shopping Center. After having brief discussions with students, the televised debate from Hofstra University in New York began. The local hosts invited the crowd to tune in on Twitter using the hashtag #HUDebateWatchParty.

Pearis Bellamy, a junior psychology major from Turnersville, New Jersey, and a member of the Student Leadership Program as well as Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc., said, "It is important for our students to be engaged and becoming informed about the candidates' opinions affecting us. We must be informed voters."

Some students said they are anxious about this debate and the upcoming election, seeing that the stakes are pretty high. Daija Rivers, a sophomore kinesiology major from Philadelphia, said she started the "White Hall voter registration challenge" a few weeks ago. She started this challenge to encourage and inform students in her dormitory about registering to vote in addition to staying on top of the candidates.

"Our generation has to understand that we have stepped into a debate that could make or break our future," said Rivers, "so voting and being mature during this time is vital."

After the 90-minute debate, at 10:35 p.m. both host organizations led a panel discussion with two Hampton students and an HU Police Department officer. There was talk about the debate, and the panelists urged students to vote, and offered these pointers:

- The black vote is essential to this election
- If you don't vote, you are giving up your voice
- Make sure you pick the candidate that aligns to your views

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Engaged Hampton U. students on eve of 1st presidential debate

By Daneisha LaTorre

On Monday, Sept. 26, at 9 p.m., the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take place. CNN and other news networks will be streaming online and reporting live on cable TV.

Students can watch the televised debate from Hofstra University in New York at the Hampton U. Student Center Theater, according to Anzell Harrell, director of student activities. In 2012, a standing-room-only crowd packed the theater for the Mitt Romney-Barack Obama debate.

A number of Hampton University students have been active throughout the election – campaigning, registering students to vote and planning events to keep students informed on the election.

Robel Eskinder, a sophomore nursing major from Los Angeles, works at the Hillary Clinton campaign office located in the Hampton Harbors shopping center near Hampton University.

"My purpose for working on the campaign is to get students to vote," said Eskinder. "My essential goal is not to shift the votes of the students, but to just have students informed on what's going on in their backyards. I can be more personal with students than the other volunteers within the campaign, that's why I love doing it."

An estimated 30 Hampton U. students are volunteering at the office of the Democratic candidate, and so are 20 Hampton city residents.

When interviewing two interns at the Mariah Mingoes, a psychology major from Queens, New York and Democratic Coordination Office intern, said, "I really don't want Trump to be my president. His blatant ignorance is too unprofessional and I'll trying everything to make sure he doesn't get in office. Even if I have to dedicate hours asking everybody that walks by if they're registered."

Anas'a Dixon, a political science major, Lorton, Virginia, said "Hillary is probably the most qualified candidate to run in history."

[According to a news account late last month in The New York Times, Republican candidate Trump opened few campaign offices and relied on Republican National Committee organizers scattered in 11 swing states that include Virginia. On Wednesday, ABC affiliate WSET-TV 13, Roanoke, reported that Trump was to open 30 field offices in Virginia.]

Delaria Ridley, a junior strategic communications major from Atlanta, and member of the campus Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Training Program Student Leadership Program, said the organization plans stage a watch party in the Student Center Atrium.

"The purpose of this event is to make sure that the campus has the opportunity to be informed and be able to provoke conversations about the upcoming election," said Ridley.

"I can't wait to see Hillary do her thing!" said Jordan McKinney, a political science major from New Jersey.

Daryle Kennedy and Chelsea Harrison contributed to this report. The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. students vow to go home or register here – and vote

By Toree Paden

This year's controversial U.S. presidential election have raised interest for many Hampton University students. Students that weren't concerned about being registered, or weren't of age to register for previous elections, have made it there priority to vote in the upcoming presidential election. Some young adults realize the importance of voting, and having a voice, no matter the political viewpoint.

According to campusvoteproject.org, only 17 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 cast ballots in the 2014 midterm Congressional elections. "1.7 million Americans between the age of 18 and 24 either don't know where to register," said the report, "or they simply miss the deadlines."

Furthermore, although Millennial-age voter surpassed Baby Boomers as potential voting blocs, only 19 percent of 18 to 29-year-old voters participated in the 2012 presidential election, according to an NPR report. Baby Boomer participation was double, 38 percent.

Although more students now realize the importance, not many of them take the necessary steps to make sure that they get registered. If they attend a college or university away from home, it can be a challenge to meet all the requirements in time. For that reason, many colleges and universities try to encourage students to get registered.

Hampton University in particular provides a convenient way to register students on campus right then and there. Greek organizations on campus and members of the Student Government Association spread the word and promote the importance of voting.

College students alone make a vast impact on which way the presidential race could potentially go. While others let the difficulty of voting and being away from home affect their decision to register, many Hampton University students, prefer to have their voices be heard.

"Sheesh! I hadn't really thought about it," said Kayla Sellers, a junior broadcast journalism major from Queens, New York. "I'll probably go home to vote."

Jorri Contee-Staten, a junior five-year MBA from Maryland said she planned on going home since she registered: "I'm going home Monday night [Nov. 7], and going to cast my vote the next morning."

Other students that were interviewed were registered and planned to vote via absentee ballot or to travel back to their home states.

Quadasia Walthour, a junior, political science major from Queens, New York, was registered in New York and planned to return home in November.

Tatyana Stevens, a freshman computer information systems major, from Atlanta, planned to do the same.

Sydney Shaw, a junior strategic communications major, is a Virginia native, and was excited about voting for the first time, in her home state.

"As a first-time voter, I recognize the importance of this election," said Angel Bodrick, a sophomore biology major from Huntsville, Alabama. "To make everything a lot more convenient, I decided to vote in Virginia last semester."

Kayla Collier, a junior kinesiology major from Atlanta, was registered at home, and plans to vote via absentee ballot, along with senior Khadijah Muhammad, a computer information systems major from Chicago.

Channing Kirkland, a psychology major from Atlanta, said she was once told, "Absentee ballots are counted last and this election is nothing to play with. I want to make sure my vote is counted and counted first."

Mecca Evans, Maya McCombs and Mararya Henderson contributed to this report. All writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Democrats propose debt-free college to students at ODU rally

By Ja'Rae Bolton

NORFOLK – Hampton University students may have a lower debt from college if they vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine.

Friday, Kaine promised a crowd at Old Dominion University that the first phase of lowering student debt would be rolled out in the first 100 days of the new administration.

"We are at a point where student loan debt is higher than credit card debit in the United States," Kaine said during the open-air rally outside Rollins Hall on ODU's campus. "Hillary and I have a vision of debt free college. It is a goal but a very big goal ... to support students furthering their education."

Kaine and his wife Ann Holton were greeted by cheers while "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" rang out as they walked out onto the platform. Holton opened the program talking about the powerful women who have supported her husband and how much he appreciates their support of the Clinton campaign.

"Payback is great," Kaine responded. "This is the best way to honor all the woman that have supported me."

Dozens of volunteers handed out water, registered people to vote and asked the audience to work with the campaign.

Security was high as about 300 attendees followed a path down toward the mainstage. Numerous local, regional and state politicians were present.

Karla Grase, Co-Chair of the Hampton Democratic party, started things off at 5 p.m. with an acapella version of the national anthem. Congressman Bobby Scott, who is vying for Kaine's Senate seat if he wins in the general election, urged the crowd to fight for Clinton and Kaine.

"If we do what we are supposed to do and carry Virginia the Republicans will have to win states they haven't won in three decades," Scott said.

Kaine also talked of the work Democrats have ahead of them, urging supporters to volunteer, then criticized Donald Trump, saying Americans want "Dictatorship not leadership." The audience cheered when Kaine said that "someone who cannot pass a fifth grade civics test should not be allowed to be the president."

Kaine went on to discuss the current state of the economy, our international allies, foreign relationships, and charity. He compared his work with ODU as a senator and a member of this community to the lack of charity.

Kaine urged the crowd to get out in their communities and talk about the campaign because television commercials no longer have the impact they once did. "People will always listen to their friend or neighbor," Kaine said.

Other speakers included Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, members of the armed forces and President John Broderick of ODU.

Kaine closed by saying "Democrats are underdogs. Let's make history."

The student is a writer at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

Cookout host Scott is a U.S. Senate prospect, supporters say

By Chelsea Harrison

NEWPORT NEWS – At the 40th annual Robert C. "Bobby" Scott Labor Day cookout, supporters around the Hampton Roads area came out for a meet-and-greet-style gathering hosted by Virginia's 3rd Congressional District representative. This yearly event is used to rally support for upcoming elections.

With this year's presidential elections approaching this November, this event amplified the support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine.

With Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia, in the running to become vice president, questions have been raised to see who could fill his seat, if Kaine advances. There has been speculation that Scott could be the replacement.

Matthew James, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing Portsmouth, said, "If anyone deserves the senator's spot, it's him." James also stated that he has sent out letters to other elected officials on Scott's behalf, recommending that he fill in that office.

Richard Miller, a senior labor policy adviser, who works alongside Scott on the education and labor committee in Washington, D.C., said, "The thing that Congressman Scott has over everybody else is that he is very, very principled. He's a scholar. He sticks to what he thinks is right, then he researches how to make those things happen.

"I would know. I'm the one he emails at three o'clock in the morning to look over things."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Trump-esque dare led me to convention floor reporting

By Lawrence Rigby

CLEVELAND – Political conventions are an interesting phenomenon.

The RNC convention is no exception. And, with the coronation of Donald Trump, now the standard bearer of the Republican Party, it's safe to say I've seen my share of the unlikely. It's my first convention, but I have that tingly feeling I'll be attending many more.

As a field reporter for USA Today covering protest on the streets of here, it was equally unlikely I would get a floor pass for the convention. Most networks do not get them, and the ones that do, don't just hand them out to any staffer, much less the new draft pick. Convention floor passes are reserved for journalism's elite. For veterans who've earned their bylines and their unnamed sources.

Well, in Trump-esque fashion, I got one.

The political editor at USA Today took his pass from around his neck, handed it to me as he said, "Go cut your teeth into some unsuspecting politician."

My strategy was simple: Gov. Mike Pence was the Wednesday keynote speaker, so I would go stand next to the Indiana delegation hoping to get commentary and video of their reaction once his address concluded. I got more than that.

Resounding boos for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Interviews with Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Donald Trump Jr. All of it happened in the matter of minutes of each other. If only everyday reporting could move as quickly.

Between the speakers, I chatted with Gayle King, Lester Holt and David Muir; exchanged my fraternal grip with Roland Martin; and ran behind Karl Rove, twice – who noticeably picked up his pace on my third attempt.

I'll get you next time, Karl. In 2020, I'll be waiting on you at the door.

Cheers to my first convention. The 2016 RNC convention. The coronation of Donald J. Trump convention.

Oh, how unconventional.

The writer (at right in top photo) is a 2015 Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications graduate and former Hampton University student government association president.

Black colleges must retool to stay competitive, says RNC panel

By Tiara Sargeant

CLEVELAND – Many Historically Black Colleges and Universities must change their business models in order to stay competitive and viable in the higher education industry, said moderators and panelists at a Republican National Convention-related event Thursday.

Many professors at HBCUs are underpaid, said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Andrew Clark Jr. (pictured far right in photo), a 2013 Howard University graduate, said during an exchange with an audience member that low faculty pay and punishing workloads at his campus created perceptions that professors don't care, or students or professors are not having great relationships.

Meanwhile, numerous so-called PWIS's – Predominantly White Institutions – said the panelists, are appealing to African-American student prospects to come and diversify those campuses.

Restructured business models and more money must be invested in the 107 HBCUs, said the panelists, in order to stay competitive with all 4,700 public and private colleges and universities. Taylor noted that Hampton University, a top-tier HBCU, prospers because its President, William R. Harvey, Ed.D., 100-percent owner of a Pepsi bottler in Michigan, applies corporate-style management of his Virginia campus.

Other participants in "EEO: Education, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity" session held at Holy Trinity Church here were Jill Homan, Republican National Committeewoman for District of Columbia and founder of City GOP, and panelists Christine Brooks, CEO, Brooks and Associates, and also former education adviser to Jeb Bush; Antonio Campbell, board member, The Crossroads School, Baltimore.

The writer (pictured left in photo), a Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications student, also served as a panelist.

Hampton U. official, Trump supporter, GOP change agent

By Wayne Dawkins

Bill Thomas maintained order.

Thomas, associate vice president for governmental relations at Hampton University, is a delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

"I am a designated Trump delegate and I am tasked to make sure there is no opposition," he said. "I went to all of the Virginia Delegation committee meetings. We can't have what [former Virginia Attorney Gen.] Ken Cuccinelli did Monday." Cuccinelli and delegates from nine states attempted to unbind delegate votes for Donald Trump. GOP leaders quashed the revolt.

Trump was officially nominated Tuesday night as Republican candidate for president during a roll call vote of state delegations. In November, Trump will face presumptive Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Cleveland is Thomas' second RNC convention. He is representing the 3rd Congressional District. Thomas said, in 2012 in Tampa, he was an alternate delegate.

During a telephone interview, Thomas stated his No. 1 issue: "The Republican Party hopes that under Donald Trump it can bring inclusive-based principles and values. Black votes, white votes, all votes matter.

"The GOP appreciates blacks' concerns. They have reached out to me, because that's my issue. I'm getting more responses from the Trump organization than from the Virginia delegation. I have focused on HBCU priorities and balancing inequities in education."

Thomas also said "I supported Trump when there were 16 Republican presidential candidates. I support Trump because we need a change in the party.

"At this stage in my life – 64 years – I have never seen such racial division that has separated us among educated people. There's a lack of understanding in what we want is what others want.

"My priorities are family, education and economic development, not the right to vote or civil rights activity.

"Dividing is not going to work.

"I've known Trump for more than 20 years and he will not be like that."

Thomas, a radio commentator who is heard Fridays on WHRV-FM [NPR] "Another View" said this about Melania Trump's much-criticized and ridiculed speech: "They made a mistake. They need to own up to it and move on."

The writer is a professor at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. in [The White] House at College Reporter Day

By Phillip Jackson

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, April 28, The White House held its Inaugural College Reporter Day, gathering 50 students from across the country. Student reporters were able to interview staff members and correspondents of The White House during press briefings held throughout the day.

There were at least six Historically Black College students in attendance. Hampton University was represented by yours truly. Students arrived at 8 a.m., with their first event being led by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. After his introduction, the floor was opened for questions from the selected college reporters.

The next discussion at 10 a.m. was with White House correspondents Scott Horsley, Toluse Olurnnipa, Christi Parsons, Carolyn Kaster, Jon Karl, and Jen Bendery. Many student questions focused on what it is like to cover the White House on a daily basis, and the access to information that reporters can receive throughout the tenure of their reporting.

Most reporters receive more information based on their reputation. Initially, said the correspondents, it can be tough for young reporters. As writers of color, there are not many black reporters that have the job of covering what goes on in the White House.

Many events covered range from new bills the president proposes, where he plans to travel, and who visits the home.

After the discussion with White House correspondents the next press briefing centered on the "It's on Us" campaign against college crime and sexual assault. Questions were answered by White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Kyle Lierman.

"If you as students know that there is a pattern or practice that you deem to be inappropriate practice, you should take that up with the Department of Education," said Jarrett.

The next session focused on national issues. After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, there has been a lot of conversation on whether President Barack Obama should be able to select the next member of the Supreme Court. Although Obama recommended Judge Merrick Garland, many members of Congress have not met with the judge or intend to vote on the recommendation.

White House Senior Adviser Brian Desse and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston spoke on the Supreme Court nomination. "So when Neil got that call, then the president found out about Justice Scalia's passing, from that moment, he's had a pretty clear vision about how he wanted to approach this," said Desse. "As of today, Judge Garland was up on the hill. He has two meetings with senators today. This is the end of the April work period."

That led to the final press briefing with Press Secretary Josh Earnest, and, a surprise visit from President Barack Obama.

"Was Josh thorough in his briefing?" the president asked. "Well, I heard you guys were around today, so I wanted to stop by and say hello. I also have a bit of breaking news for you, and then I might take some questions."

Obama prepares this week to travel to Flint, Michigan.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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