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  • E-News U. Contributor 12:54 pm on November 19, 2009 Permalink |  

    McDonnell’s Obama-like charm got him over in Va. 

    By Taylor Aikens

    The democratic electoral process in America in recent years has been exposed as an archaic, sedentary and at times a corrupt system. Yet through faithful participation, the process still seems wholesome and trustworthy.

    The 2008 presidential election certainly boosted the general publics’ view of our democracy. However with all the controversy that surrounds electing political leaders in this country, certain races go by unnoticed.


    On Nov. 3, there was a gubernatorial election in Virginia between Democrat and current Creigh Deeds, a state senator, and Republican Bob McDonnell, attorney general of the commonwealth.

    Deeds had the support of the charismatic President Barack Obama yet still lost.

    McDonnell swept Virginia handily; he won by a 59-41 percent margin. Eighty-seven percent of Virginia Beach, McDonnell’s home base, voted for him.

    So why was it that when I asked my Hampton University peers “Who is Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell?” I was met with blank stares?

    I was only truly able to speak with one other individual who truly had anything intelligent to say. Akija Trotter is a political science major: “Creigh Deeds is such a stick in the mud. He is so uncharismatic it’s appalling.”

    That was Trotter’s assessment of a YouTube video of a recent Deeds rally. “He’s so bland and dry he’s the white toast of politicians.”

    She’s right. He was bland, boring, and virtually unmarketable on the glitzy and greasy campaign trail that is American politics.
    “Too be honest, he does not show up on a flat screen very well,” said Trotter. His feature did look distorted and his skin was flabby and pale. “Bob McDonnell,” she said, “looks better.”

    McDonnell is a Republican, a member of the GOP. In some circles these letters are almost synonymous with bureaucracy and negligence. However, the candidate took one of the toughest and largest regions of Virginia by a landslide.

    “It’s not what you say anymore,” said Trotter as we watched a McDonnell rally. His fervor was synonymous with Obama’s at times, and with a ring adorning both his ring fingers he was a GOP shoo-in.

    “He’s wholesome,” said Trotter. “Ugh it’s almost sickening to watch him fondle these votes out of people.”

    As she comments on the jovial bouncing of McDonnell; I cannot help but compare this election to the last presidential election. Not so much on the platform or the tasks that awaited the winner of this seat of power, but more of who can get a rise out of people; at least enough so that these people will remember their name and to vote for them on a certain date.

    It appears that this is what democracy is reduced to when boiled down through the reporters, sound bites, and rallies. It’s nothing but a big popularity contest.

  • E-News U. Contributor 11:16 am on November 14, 2009 Permalink |  

    Hampton U. coach Rose sees visiting FAMU as a model for future success 

    By Malik Smith

    After the 1991 season, every member of Hampton University’s football staff was fired.

    Except one.

    Before the 1992 season, new HU head coach Joe Taylor retained only Donavan Rose. That began a relationship that will come full circle this weekend when Taylor returns to Hampton for the first time as Florida A&M’s head coach.

    “It’s not personal,” said Rose, who worked 16 years as an assistant under Taylor before taking the head job at HU before this season. “It’s just business.”

    Florida A&M is riding a three-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s 1 p.m. showdown at Armstrong Stadium. The Rattlers are 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the MEAC in the second year under Taylor, the winningest coach in HU history at 136-49-1 over 16 years.

    The Pirates (4-5, 2-4) are looking to salvage a winning record under Rose, who is the Pirates’ third coach in three years following last year’s coach Jerry Holmes.

    “We’re going to do everything possible to avoid a losing season,” said senior punter Jahmal Blanchard.

    The game will match up the two best rushing attacks in the MEAC.

    Florida A&M, behind quarterback Curtis Pulley’s 80.5 rushing yards per game, is averaging 178.44 yards as a team, while the Pirates average 163.5 a game.

    HU’s LeMarcus Coker leads the league with 102.1 rushing yards per game, often taking direct snaps in the wildcat offense.

    Rose is using Taylor’s Florida A&M program – and Taylor’s past Hampton teams – as a model for what he wants for the future at Hampton.

    “I’ve seen spurts that the team is coming around,” he said. “It’s taken longer than I thought.”

  • E-News U. Contributor 10:35 am on November 14, 2009 Permalink |  

    Pirates need to win for reasons bigger than Taylor 

    By Shemar Woods

    Opinions from the stands at Armstrong Stadium will vary when the Pirates take the field Saturday afternoon.

    Those directing their magnifying glasses at Hampton University’s football program might see this weekend’s game against former head coach Joe Taylor, now at Florida A&M University, as a prime opportunity to exact revenge on a former leader.

    The Pirates see the 1 p.m. matchup from a different light.

    “It’s nothing personal, but it’s business,” coach Donovan Rose said during Wednesday’s news conference. “We are going to do whatever we have to in order to win.”

    In 16 years at Hampton, Taylor became the Pirates winningest coach, compiling a career record of 136-49-1 and leading the Pirates to five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships. Plaques hanging in the program’s football offices tout Taylor’s legacy, but most of the current Pirates players are focused on the present.

    “There are a lot of players on the team who really didn’t know Taylor. It’s really 50-50,” Rose said. “Myself, as well as some of the players will probably exchange words after the game.”

    Hampton hopes the result is a “W” in the win column.

    Struggling to find consistency all season, the Pirates (4-5, 2-4 MEAC) need to win their last two games against Florida A&M and Morgan State to finish above .500.

    All-American punter Jahmal Blanchard, a four-year starter, has never finished the season with a losing record.

    “We don’t want to be remembered as the team finishing under .500,” said Blanchard, a senior who has a MEAC-best 56.8 yard punting average this year. “We are just working hard every day in practice and pushing each other to win these last games.”

    And while the season has not played out the way Rose expected, Taylor stands in the way of a winning record.

    From 1992 to 2007, Taylor and Rose developed a special relationship. When Taylor took over the Hampton program in 1992, Rose was the only coach who remained from the previous regime. For 16 years, Rose studied under Taylor.

    Taylor moved on to Florida A&M, and Rose received Hampton’s head coaching position at the end of January. The two remain very close, and the Hampton-graduate incorporated a few of his mentor’s techniques this season.

    “I took his discipline and leadership,” said Rose, who also noted that he knew Taylor’s children. “He’s doing a great job at Florida A&M.”

    While Rose still admires his former boss, he will only stay on the topic for so long, quickly jumping back to the task at hand:

    “It’s all about who prepares the best. I wish him well.”

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

  • E-News U. Contributor 4:28 pm on November 11, 2009 Permalink |  

    HU football looks to finish high 

    By Altamese Osborne

    Hampton University head football coach Donovan Rose strikes a calm pose amidst a season of uncertainty.

    The student-athletes to his left, running back Steve Robinson and punter Jahmal Blanchard maintain the same cool demeanor, despite their team’s disappointing football season.

    Life-sized pictures of past greats dot the walls. Trophies line the entrance of the football offices. With surroundings that pay homage to Hampton’s outstanding football legacy, this season’s quiet average 4-5 record seems somewhat out of place. However, Rose and his team hope to carry forth Hampton’s legacy and finish the season on a high note starting with the game against Florida A&M University this upcoming Saturday.

    “I think we have the chance to finish successful these last two games. I can’t undo what’s been done. These last games are all that matters now.”

    His confidence translates to the players sitting beside him.

    “We’re playing for pride,” says Steve Robinson, a junior running back from Buford, Ga. “These last two games we’re trying to show people that we’re the same Hampton they’re used to seeing.”

    “We want to win,” Blanchard agrees, a senior punter from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “If we lose one [game], it’s an automatic losing season.”

    Not only is a winning season on the line against FAMU, but the game also marks the return of former coach Joe Taylor to Hampton. In 16 seasons at HU, Taylor led the Pirates to a 136-49-1 record, eight conference titles and seven playoff appearances.

    “Obviously, I respect him,” says Rose. “He’s like a mentor to me. I ended up [working] with Coach Taylor from 1992 to 2007. But he’s been gone for two years. We have a lot of players that don’t know him.”

    Rose clearly shows no signs of holding back from his former mentor come game day.

    “It’s not personal; it’s business. I don’t want to sit back and be complacent. We’re going to do whatever we have to do to win. We’re [going to] play smart. The team that is willing to prepare is greater than the will to win.”

    “I’m trying to get those Rattlers.”

  • E-News U. Contributor 4:23 pm on November 11, 2009 Permalink |  

    HU vs. FAMU: The mentee vs. the mentor 

    By Tiffany Sheppard

    When the Hampton Pirates play the Florida A& M Rattlers on Saturday, it will be an old-fashioned battle between the mentee and the mentor.

    When the Pirates (4-5, 2-4) face FAMU (7-2, 5-1) on Saturday at Armstrong Stadium, head coach Donovan Rose will test his abilities against his former head coach, Joe Taylor.

    Rose and Taylor have a long history together. Rose returned to Hampton University as an assistant coach in 1991, but changes were made during the HU alumnus’s first year. Taylor’s arrival was one of those changes.

    “Everyone got fired except for me,” Rose said.

    One of Taylor’s moves as the new coach was to give Rose an ultimatum.

    “Coach Taylor gave me the option of staying or resigning,” Rose explained. “So I went to the interview and I got the job.”

    Rose was an assistant under Taylor from 1992 to 2007, when Taylor left Hampton to coach FAMU. Rose took over for fired coach Jerry Holmes in 2008.

    Rose’s inaugural season has been a whirlwind. He took the job on January 26 and had a recruiting class three days later. Rose also has a coaching staff with little college experience. Bernard Clark Jr. is a first-time defensive coordinator. Quarterbacks coach Chris Siegle also is coaching at the collegiate level for the first time. But Rose believes the staff’s lack of experience is offset by their chemistry as a coaching unit.

    Things haven’t been nearly as chaotic for FAMU, who is second-place in the MEAC behind South Carolina State.

    Though Hampton is still reeling from their loss to Bethune Cookman last weekend, the Pirates view the FAMU game as critical.

    “We have to do whatever is necessary to win,” Rose said.

    The most challenging aspect of Saturday’s game is the fact that both coaches know each other so well. That familiarity has inspired Rose to come up with some new wrinkles in the game plan. He hinted he’ll use some of the wildcat offense, but was coy on his other game strategies.

    “During the game, people will definitely see things that they haven’t seen before,” he said.

  • E-News U. Contributor 4:14 pm on November 5, 2009 Permalink |  

    Students: HU professors did not stress civic virtue this election year 

    By Shemar Woods

    Just a year ago, the first Tuesday in November created chaos around Hampton University’s campus.

    For this year’s election, the buzz has fizzled out tremendously. Many students roam the campus unaware that Nov. 3 was Election Day.

    “I didn’t even realize there was an election,” said Norbert Jones, a senior finance major from Long Island, N.Y. “People aren’t campaigning like they were last year to get the word out, which I think has had a significant impact.”

    There has been a fair share of coverage during this year’s election campaign, but students from all over the country who attend HU share a common lack of interest.

    Students say they “are not from Virginia,” or they “don’t know the candidates platform,” or “two years isn’t long enough to make a change.”

    The low priority can be applied to Hampton University professors.

    This year, no was little to no evidence of exemptions given to students who wanted to make a trip over to the polls to cast their poll, a complete reversal from 2008, when there was an unwritten rule that classes would be canceled on the Tuesday of the historical election.

    “The teachers didn’t stress the importance of voting this year in classes,” said Edmund Dunn, a senior business major from Chicago.

    The election teachers did not stress and students overlooked was between Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds. President Barack Obama came down to Hampton Roads last week to speak at Old Dominion University on behalf of Deeds, who eventually lost the election Tuesday night.

    McDonnell’s big win was surprising yet easy. He collected 59 percent of the vote. The win also broke an eight-year streak, where Democrats had won the last two races for governor.

    “I don’t see how his election will really affect us over the next two years,” said Jones. “Yes, the party in control has changed, but two years is not a very long term.”

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

  • E-News U. Contributor 2:26 pm on November 4, 2009 Permalink |  

    Hampton U. students vote, or not 

    By Kelli Esquilin

    The Monday before Election Day should be normally buzzing with people wondering and asking, “Are you voting tomorrow?”

    That was not the case with many Hampton students. When asked, “Are you voting tomorrow,” many students said “no.”

    “Is that tomorrow?” asked George Johnson III, an Interdisciplinary Education major from Hampton. He said since he had not gone to any informational hearings about the candidates or sought out their platforms on his own, he would not be voting Tuesday.

    “I don’t want to vote aimlessly,” said Johnson, “I am a Democrat, but I won’t vote for the candidate based on his political party alone.”

    Another Virginia native, Eric Marshall II, a graduate physics major from Virginia Beach, said that he is voting Tuesday.

    “As Americans we are given a right to vote from birth,” Marshall said. “If you are given the chance to vote on something where the outcome would directly affect you, you should be adamant about it.”

    It seemed as if only the people who lived in the area cared about who was governing it and what the outcome of the vote might be. However, Hampton University has students from all over the United States, some of whom are registered to vote in the state of Virginia.

    Robert Kearney IV, sociology major from Philadelphia, said that even though he is registered to vote in Virginia, he will not be voting Tuesday. “I only registered to vote in Virginia so that my presidential vote would count for this state,” Kearney explained.

    “I’m not voting because I don’t live here, so I don’t want to vote to affect those who have to live with my choice.”

    That’s the way many out-of-state Hampton students feel about voting in a state they don’t expect to be in for very long.

    On the other hand, “if students don’t vote – in their home state or in Virginia – they should not have the right to complain,” said Marshall after being asked why he was voting.

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

  • E-News U. Contributor 12:48 pm on November 4, 2009 Permalink |  

    Off-year election cooled some HU students’ voter interest 

    By Stephanie M. Smith

    Last November, Hampton University students joined thousands of other college students in flooding the polls to cast votes for now Barack Obama, who is now President.

    As an HBCU, it was no surprise that students took full interest in playing a role in the election of the United States’ first African-American president. Even a number of nonresident students went as far as changing their residences to Virginia in order to cast Democratic votes in that state.

    On Tuesday, the election for Virginia Governor will be held but many students fail to have the same interest and/or zeal that was shown last year in the presidential elections.

    “No, I’m not a VA [Virginia] resident,” said Bryant Pagan, a Hampton University senior and resident of Maryland.

    For many students like Pagan, not being a resident of Virginia was enough reason for them not to take interest in the elections regardless of temporarily being in the state because of school.

    For other students, they still hold on to some interest in casting their vote and letting their voice be heard, but either have not made effort to be aware of the election or do not see a need to change their residence to vote in these elections.

    “I didn’t vote last year and I’d like to vote this year, but I don’t really know the candidates and what they are about and plus I don’t have a ride to the polls,” said Devon Williams, a junior from Maryland. He does not plan on putting forth extra effort to find a ride to the polls, so this year Williams will just sit this election out.

    “No, I did not vote [last year] because I’m not a resident of the state,” said Jamar Johnson, a junior, from Connecticut. “If I did vote [this year] I’d vote for Deeds even though I’m not a Republican.”

    [Republican Bob McDonnell Tuesday night defeated Democrat Creigh Deeds by a 59-41 percent margin.]

    Despite the wishy-washy interest in the elections by most students, many who are Virginia residents feel a strong need to vote.

    “I intend on voting tomorrow because I’m grown and I need to take part in the happenings of my society,” said Stacy Culler, a junior from Hampton.

    “And yes I voted last year.”

    It is unlikely that the polls be crowded Tuesday with students, but some may take time to vote because of their concern for their adopted Hampton University community.

    The elections Tuesday will be reserved for those who have a deeper interest in government rather than just seeking to elect the first black president.

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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