Cierra Johnson | Staff Writer
Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Bernie Sanders has launched a tour that will feature various Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) around the country, his tour is titled “Feel the Bern.” It is expected to gather the attention of many college students and get them excited about participating in the upcoming elections.
The announcement of the tour came Monday, January 11 in a press release on Sanders’ website. Sanders began his tour on Thursday, January 14 at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where guest speaker Dr. Cornel West joined him.
West is a well- known political activist and educator, and spoke on Bernie Sanders’ behalf.
West has been known to critique the work of President Barack Obama and other political figures. The campaign event at South Carolina State University was free and opened to the public.
While on this “Feel the Bern” tour, Sanders will visit the following HBCU’s: Tennessee State University, Alabama State University, Jackson State University, Florida A&M University, Virginia State University, Howard University, the Atlanta University Center and Benedict College. No dates for these stops have been released yet.
While other presidential candidates and politicians have spent time visiting HBCU’s in the past, Bernie Sanders will be the first presidential candidate to launch a tour that is focusing solely on HBCU’s and the needs and desires of the students and parents of those universities.
During the HBCU tour, Sanders is expected to discuss his plans to cut in-state tuition for college students, along with loan reform actions. According to pbs.org, he has stated that he would allow citizens who are currently faced with student loans to refinance and continue paying off their loans at a lower rate than before. He has also stated that he would provide $18 billion dollars to states, allowing them to cut in-state tuition.
Sanders will also discuss criminal justice reform, racial justice, guns, and health care while making his visits to the selected HBCU’s. The South Carolina Democratic primary election is scheduled to take place on February 27. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both fighting for the African American and minority vote in South Carolina and other southern states.
With the primary election being just around the corner, this is a pivotal time for Bernie Sanders to inspire and gain the support of millennial college students. Currently in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton has a 40-point lead over Bernie Sanders, according to realclearpolitics.com. When asked her thoughts on The Feel the Bern Tour, Mikayla Trogdon, a freshman 5-year MBA major from Asheboro, North Carolina, stated, “Bernie Sanders’ purpose is trying to reach the younger generation.
Sanders is using this HBCU tour as a specific strategy to try and gain the lead over Hillary Clinton when seeking after African American supporters.” In addition, Mikayla also stated that having Dr. Cornel West join Sanders during a very pivotal time will help increase his support.
College students around the nation have already begun to show their support for Bernie Sanders because of his plans to lower the cost of college tuition. Students also feel that Sanders is easy to relate to and is most concerned with the issues the millennial generation is faced with, but many question if the support of college students will be enough to get Sanders to the White House