Freshman class candidates go head-to-head in elections debate

Sasha Thornton | Staff Writer

Quintessence 12 has newly elected officers after contentious freshman debates, with students electing Carlyle Fulton and Kennedy Ashford, respectively, for freshman class president and vice president.

First-year students campaigned for the positions and were able to debate against each other in the student center September 20.

Hampton students, many of them freshmen, filled the student center seats, stairs and balconies, to see contenders Fulton, Ashford, Jada Hood and Arthur D. Harrington square off.

Vice presidential opponents Jada Hood and Ashford started the debates. They were asked a series of questions by spectators, including one from Trinity Woodson, a graduating senior, on how they’ve been a good representative for their class so far during their time at Hampton.

Hood answered by expressing a recent issue she had faced this past summer. Her response caused an uproar in the room.

“I was targeted [by fellow students] for being LGBTQ, so from there, I took it to Twitter,” Hood said. “A lot of people had my back and support as well as ones who came to me, who had the same issues and were being attacked for being themselves.”

Ashford rebutted, expressing that there was no need to take to social media, and her comments could cast Hampton’s name in a negative light.

Hood countered Ashford’s rebuttal, much to the audience’s surprise.

“How does it feel to have someone on your committee personally attack and make statements about the LGBT community?” Hood asked. 

When asked how she felt the debate went, Ashford said that even though she could not answer all questions, she hoped the freshman class voted for who they believed to be the right person for the position.

During the presidential debate between Harrington and Fulton, one question about Harrington’s alleged discriminatory behavior and remarks sparked commotion. Harrington denied the claims, stating that they were false. 

“I appreciate everyone, no matter your religion or sexual orientation, and I have people who will vouch for me and tell you that is not the case,” Harrington said.

His response caused an uproar as some students in the crowd seemed to be unhappy with his answer. 

After finishing the debate, Fulton said that he believes his opponent provided great competition.

“Good job by Mr. Harrington, and I do feel proud of my performance. I feel proud of the campaign, the work, and everything we have accomplished so far,” Fulton said. 

Following the event, many students said that the debates gave them a lot to think about.

“Both candidates had some really strong things to say at the end of the day. It’s going to be a really hard decision to make,” HU student Tomi Akintunde said.

Others said that the debate did not go how they expected. 

“I thought we were going to talk about goals and what’s next for the class of ‘25,” HU student Clark Moore said. “However, this turned into a shady debate with lots of mess and undercover drama we were not aware of as the student body, and I would like to know what is going on.” 

Senior Class Vice President Myana Mabry, a big of both candidates, thought the debate was needed because it touched on many sensitive topics. However, she was disappointed in the way things played out. 

“I expected it to be a bit more professional, honest, thorough and to have concrete plans in place,” Mabry said. “Not just a bunch of optimism.”

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