Ayanna Maxwell | Editor-In-Chief
Photo Credit: Glenn Knight
Vice President Mike Pence visited Hampton University’s Proton Therapy Institute on Feb. 19 to engage with students, faculty and HUPTI treatment survivors.
According to a news release from HU’s Office of University Relations, the visit was arranged with the intention of “supporting the University’s efforts in providing state-of-the-art cancer research and delivering cancer treatment to military veterans and their families.”
With it being Black History Month, Pence’s visit to such a prestigious historically black university was extremely timely. Vice President Pence has established a fervent relationship with Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey and even noted that President Harvey played a major role in the recently signed policy making federal funding for HBCUs permanent.
“President Harvey has been a real champion of this administration, particularly for HBCUs,” Pence said.
Vice President Pence and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos participated in a roundtable discussion with various campus leaders: SGA President Jonathan Mack, SGA Vice President Bruce Wilson, Junior Class President Oshae Moore, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees Kenneth Rioland III, Hampton Script Editor-in-Chief Ayanna Maxwell and Miss Student Nursing Association Ebony Johnson. Among students and faculty, Vice President of Administrative Services Dr. Barbara Inman, Senior Vice President Attorney Paul Harris, and Chancellor and Provost Dr. JoAnn Haybsert were present.
We think Hampton represents the best of HBCUs.”
––Vice President Mike Pence
The vice president engaged in a meaningful discussion about the current administration’s plans for supporting HBCUs and increasing White House internship and study abroad opportunities for HBCU students.
“[The current administration has] increased HBCU funding by 17% in real dollars…and restored Pell Grants to being year-round,” Pence said. “The Department of Education also provided more than $500 million in loans for capital financing.”
DeVos also mentioned a new addition to the recent budget proposal, in which there is “a STEM initiative for HBCUs located in opportunity zones.”
In regards to expanding White House internship opportunities, Pence plans to continue connecting with HBCUs in order to increase participation in White House internship programs. The current administration also plans to ensure that all students have access to the resources necessary to pursue an education abroad. “We are working to make college more affordable for all students, no matter where they come from,” Sec. DeVos said.
The opportunity to meet with Vice President Pence and Secretary of Education DeVos was extremely fulfilling, especially for the campus leaders.
“I witnessed representatives of our student body advocate for the advancement of HBCU recognition and funding,” HU Student Representative to the Board of Trustees Kenneth Rioland III said. “We established our competence and demonstrated our intellectual capacity, showing our students we are equally qualified as other institutions. This is something none of us will ever forget and has given us a greater appreciation for our government and our university.”
SGA President Jonathan Mack agreed, saying: “Meeting with Vice President Pence as well as Sec. DeVos was a once in a lifetime opportunity… I am thankful to Dr. Harvey as well as everyone else instrumental in allowing us this opportunity to engage in this dialogue.”
The vice president’s visit and roundtable discussion were equally rewarding to the current administration.
“We think Hampton represents the best of HBCUs,” Pence said. “These students are blessed to be graduating from a school like this.”