Published: Thursday, October 23, 2003

Besides declaring candidacy for the Democratic Seat in the 2004 Presidential election, Joe Lieberman, Carol Moseley -Braun, Howard Dean, and Al Sharpton all have something in common. They all came to Howard’s campus to speak to students, and now news network CNN has done the same. CNN came to the university on Wednesday to find out what Howard students are talking about and what their views are on politics and presidential hopefuls.

Ramonica Rice, a Howard University alumna, was the CNN representative interviewing the students. CNN’s visit was part of an initiative by the company to discover what is on the hearts of young voters. Various executives from CNN and travel to their alma maters and gather the political views of the students. The interview with Howard students will be featured on The Young Voters Opinion Initiative will culminate on November 4 when CNN will partner with “Rock the Vote,” a non-profit, non-partisan organization, to present a Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum for Young Voters.

The event will be held exactly one year prior to the 2004 Presidential Election and will take place in Boston, Massachusetts.

“We thought it was fitting for to come to Howard University, a school known for its student activism and productivity,” Rice said. “Howard is located in the nation’s capital, so students are right in the heart of the U.S. government. When I was at Howard, students were very active and I pretty much get that same sense of involvement as I interview students today.”

Various Howard students were asked if they were planning to vote, to which most everyone interviewed said yes. They were also asked what were some of the issues they were concerned with as young voters. Unemployment, education, financial aid, social divides and affirmative action were some of the top issues concerning Howard.

For many of the students, the interview was an opportunity to think about their political stance and how the election will affect their lives.

“Before the interview, I never really thought of political issues and candidates,” senior information systems major Tamika McCormack said. “This interview pushed me to think outside of my box and confront issues that may not affect me today, but will definitely be important in the future. The CNN interview really made me empowered to get more information on the candidates so my vote will be more informed.”

Howard students illustrated a level of political knowledge through their responses to CNN representatives.

Rice said, “They are very interested in politics, especially this election. The students are very specific on their concerns and that tells me they are aware.” She added, “ produces special information on candidates, like their profiles, campaign dollars, and platforms. It has been great to hear students quote information from the site and specific details from presidential platforms.”

The response from those interviewed was one of empowerment and enlightenment.

Arts and Science Student Council President Conrad Woody said, “It was an honor for CNN, the top source for national and global news, to take the time to come to Howard.” Woody said he was looking forward to the Rock the Vote event and the positive effects it will have on the Black community. “Things like that really inspire us to be active, motivated, and mobile, especially as African Americans,” Woody said.

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