FBI raid on Trump’s attorney shakes up White House

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Flickr user: Michael Vadon 

After the FBI raided the home, hotel and office of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney April 9, the commander in chief took to Twitter to express his grievances.

On the president’s personal Twitter account, Trump referred to the situation as “a total witch hunt” and implied he felt it violated an attorney-client privileges.

The president also publicly called it “an attack on our country.” The raid on Michael Cohen’s office is unprecedented with how high the suspicion level is from the Department of Justice.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on the Cohen search warrant, according to The New York Times.

That allowed the FBI to seize documents that dealt with payments by Cohen to pornography actress Stormy Daniels and playboy model Karen McDougal.

According to CNN, bank records also were seized, and records on the infamous Access Hollywood tapes were sought.

They also found tapes Cohen had recorded and kept between Trump and his associates, which has alarmed officials on Capitol Hill, according to CNBC.

Hampton University political science major Aman Tune thought Trump’s reaction was unprofessional.

“I feel that he has not handled this situation with grace and has failed to take accountability for his actions,” the sophomore said.

“He should be more cooperative, and it might reflect better on him.”

As a student who plans to work on Capitol Hill in the future, Tune finds the president’s scandals to be alarming and wishes for a change in the current administration.

“Washington needs to get back to its core values and needs to start passing legislation that will actually benefit all the American people,” she expressed with passion.

“I think a man like Trump has harmed us because he simply does not understand how to properly operate as the president of the United States.”

According to CNN, Trump brought up the possible firing of Russian investigator Robert Mueller again after suggesting it in prior months.

However, many political and legal officials would consider it to be an impeachable offense.

“Trump constantly discussing his urge to fire people who are meant to keep him in check, including Robert Mueller and [former FBI director] James Comey, is alarming,” said Korin Jones, a sophomore political science major on the pre-law track.

“I think he would be obstructing justice if he did that.”

According to The New York Times, Trump also has considered firing Rosenstein, which ultimately could affect Mueller’s Russian investigation.

“It’s time Washington get to the bottom of the Russian collusion scandal and the Stormy Daniels scandal,” Tune said.

“The Trump administration has lied too many times, and I think now, more than ever, we deserve the truth.”

Five Virginia cities make top 10 list for highest eviction rates

Mia Luckett | Contributing Writer

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Flickr user: Rickonine

In a recent Princeton University study, five Virginia cities were ranked among the top 10 cities that have the highest eviction rates, including Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Richmond.

According to research found on EvictionLab.org, about one in every 10 renters in the area is evicted. It is notable that Virginia cities on the list are predominately African American communities.

Why Virginia?

Sophomore Ashanti Sallee, a Portsmouth resident and Hampton University student, does not find this news surprising.

“I have lived in Hampton Roads for the majority of my life and I believe that there is a big gap in the cost of living and the wages in this area,” Sallee said.

“Therefore, people aren’t making enough money to cover their monthly expenses which leads to eviction.”

HU sophomore Derrick Collins agrees that wage gaps are the cause for this phenomenon.

“Being from an entirely different state hundreds of miles away, I find it disheartening that black communities in this area are facing the highest rates of eviction,” Collins said.

“I think it’s because of the racial and gender wage gap. African Americans don’t make as much as their white counterparts and therefore can’t afford to pay basic living necessities such as rent.”

The site stated that understanding the sudden, traumatic loss of home through eviction is foundational to understanding poverty in America.

Princeton University’s research is the first of its kind and is the first nationwide database of evictions. Sallee finds this innovative kind of research useful and necessary

“I’ve lived in the Hampton Roads area for the majority of my life, and I was never aware of these statistics,” Sallee said.

“This study has helped me analyze my community and see that we have issues in this area.”

Princeton’s research also show that low-income women, especially poor women of color, domestic violence families, and families with children have a high risk of eviction.

Both Sallee and Collins think this data proves just how prevalent racial and gender disparities are in America.

“These statistics show just how people of color and women are oppressed time and time again, in nearly every aspect of life,” Collins said.

“They are always the ones who get the short end of the stick, and it’s sad.”

According to the study, most poor renting families today spend at least half of their income on housing costs, and one in four of families spends over 70 percent of their income just on rent and utilities.

Sallee also believes that the state of the economy is to blame for the eviction epidemic.

“I believe the majority of the blame lies on the economy,” Sallee said.

If the cost of living is increasing, then wages should be increasing with it, Sallee added.

“On a national scale, there are more single mothers than single fathers raising children alone, and there are more single mothers of color than Caucasian single mothers raising children alone.

“Therefore, it is more likely that a woman of color who has a low income job, caring for children by herself and trying to pay for rent and utilities every month, is at risk.”

The study calls attention to issues such as eviction that ultimately add to the understanding of poverty.

Laura Ingraham returns to Fox after controversial tweet

Zoe Griffin | Staff Writer

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Twitter account: Laura Ingraham

The host of “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News returned to Fox after being under fire for tweeting that one of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivors “whined” for being rejected by some of the colleges to which he had applied.

David Hogg, the high school senior Ingraham tweeted about, responded to Laura Ingraham’s tweet by suggesting that his supporters who were offended by Ingraham’s tweet should contact her advertisers.

Nineteen companies pulled their commercials from Ingraham’s show in protest of her tweet.

Soon after, Ingraham announced that she would be taking a week off for Easter break and then apologized for “any upset of hurt” caused by her comments on social media.

“[Them] pulling away [ads] from her show is money out of her pocket; she has to choose her words carefully and keep irrelevant opinions to a minimum,” said second-year HU student Jeremiah Smith.

Instead of acknowledging her comment on her show, Ingraham instead played a clip of Bill Maher speaking on liberals and freedom of speech rights.

She then announced a new segment on her show that would be called “Defending the First.”

Ingraham believes that the new segment will “expose the enemies of the First Amendment, of free expression and thought, while showcasing those brave voices making a difference.”

Following the opening of the show, Ingraham tweeted, “I have been the victim of a boycott,” Ingraham said. “It is wrong. You shouldn’t do this by team. It is the modern way of cutting off free speech.”

Ingraham also mentioned affirmative action on her show and announced, “If you are against affirmative action, you are a racist.”

Hogg has not responded to Ingraham’s latest remarks.

Several critics believe that the banter between Ingraham and Hogg is much deeper than his reactions to his college rejections.

Hogg is one of the most vocal of the Parkland students who argues in favor of stricter gun laws; Ingraham has resisted stricter gun laws.

“I feel as though it wasn’t at all Laura Ingraham’s business to give her opinion on a school shooting survivor’s life,” Hampton University student Corei Flowers said.

“I mean, if she felt he was whining, she could have just kept that to herself rather than being overly critical of the student.”

Stephon Clark shooting brings attention to police gun violence once again

Kennedi Jackson | Staff Writer

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The Associated Press

 

In the aftermath of the most recent shootings, there has been widespread anger over gun violence, inspiring marches and protests all over the country. Now, there has been yet another unarmed shooting of a black man. Stephon Clark, a 22-year old black man living in Sacramento, CA, was shot on Sunday, March 18 by the Sacramento police.

On the evening in question, police responded to a 911 call saying that there was a man in a black hoodie who had busted a truck’s windows and was now making his way through a neighborhood’s backyards. Officers arrived on scene and the supposed perpetrator was spotted by the sheriff’s helicopter. The sheriff told police that the man was holding a toolbar and was currently breaking into another home.

The pursuit was recorded by the officers’ body cameras as they confronted the suspect in a backyard. As officers are yelling to see the suspect’s hands, one officer yelled “Gun!” Gunfire erupts.

In the end, Stephon Clark was shot multiple times. And the “gun” he was holding? It turned out to be a cellphone. Due to the outrage felt in the city of Sacramento, mass protests have been held and are expected to continue. But this anger is not only felt by California citizens; Hampton students and staff are appalled by the event as well.

Ahmaad Edmund, a first-year Political Science major, says that he was hurt when he heard about the shooting. “Think about his family…his grandparents have lost a grandchild, his sons are without a father…it’s disheartening.”

Reforming gun laws has been an issue on many people’s minds, and with Clark’s shooting it is needed more than ever. Many wonder since this has happened, what can be done to stop the gun violence against innocent people. “We need to examine this thoroughly, and have the mindset of we’re not letting up until we see changes”, says Edmund. “Until we go a year without violence, or police brutality…until that time comes we have work to do.”

Dr. Zina McGee, a sociology professor who researches gun violence, shares a similar view on the next steps America should take regarding gun violence.

“We as a society need to pay closer attention to the repercussions of having so many young people exposed to guns…We must not continue to ignore many warning signs that are often presented to us as these young people go through our schools and are not able to adequately perform because of what they’ve been exposed to.”

Stephon Clark’s funeral was held Thursday, March 29. Hundreds of people attended, paying their respects to his family before heading downtown afterwards to continue their protests. Following this tragic event, it can only be wondered when the police shootings of unarmed black men will stop, and when will law enforcement say enough is enough.

Howard University at center of financial aid scandal

Zoe Griffin | Contributing Writer

In 2017, an auditor discovered that Howard University employees had misappropriated financial aid funds over an astonishing period of nine years. Some of the employees received tuition benefits and tuition remission for the same classes.

The investigation concluded that the employees had earned more money than their education cost, and that they had kept the balance for themselves.

It was later revealed that six people were allegedly involved in the Howard University financial aid scam.

The anonymous writer of the Medium story hinted that that Howard University President Wayne Fredrick and his administration had been aware of the scam since May 2017. It was also noted that at least seven high-level financial aid officials had either resigned from their positions or been discreetly let go.

Howard University students crowded the university’s administrative office on Thursday demanding answers after learning the news. Some students have called for Howard University’s president’s immediate resignation. Twitter blew up with memes, tweets from concerned students, and even a video of Howard students singing Rihanna’s hit song “BBHMM.”

Following the public’s discovery of this scam, Howard University’s President released a statement announcing that Howard University has made efforts to reform. “Significant new policies and procedures have been implemented to strengthen Howard’s internal controls with respect to the awarding of financial aid,” he said.

The reforms efforts include a more stringent process for grant approvals and a way for students to have access to information regarding the annual budgets for each category of financial aid.

Also, according to The Washington Post, six employees were recently fired after the investigation.

“I don’t wish something like this to happen to anyone ever. My daughter attends an HBCU. I know that college isn’t cheap and that so many families put everything on the line for their children to get higher education. There is no excuse for this. This shouldn’t have slipped through the cracks,” said Hampton University parent Kristen Hudson.

 

Farm Fresh begins liquidation of 21 stores

Kyra Robinson | Contributing Writer

 

After making a deal worth $43 million, Supervalu Inc. the parent company of the Farm Fresh grocery chain, has begun the process of selling 21 of its 38 stores to Kroger Mid-Atlantic, Harris Teeter, and Food Lion.

With these sales, many Farm Fresh stores will be closed for several months, renovated and reopened under the names Kroger, Harris Teeter, or Food Lion.

Sophomore Imani Broaden recently visited a Farm Fresh for the first time to take advantage of a 30% off sale.

“I had never really heard about Farm Fresh, but my friend was going so I went with her,” the sophomore said Saturday afternoon, “It will be interesting to see what store replaces it.”

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Supervalu Inc. announced in March that they would be going through with the sales. There are a significant number of Farm Fresh stores in Hampton Roads, one which is only seven minutes from Hampton University’s campus.

Sophomore Nia Saunders heard about the liquidation through her grandparents who shop at Farm Fresh occasionally.

“It won’t really have an effect on me,” she said Saturday morning, “The prices aren’t really college-friendly. Most people would probably go to Walmart instead.”

Farm Fresh dominated the Hampton Roads community for decades, according to multiple news outlets. Their headquarters are even located in Virginia Beach.

“I don’t think customers will be that bothered by it,” Saunders continued, “There are so many other grocery stores to pick from in Hampton.”

The Daily Press reported that Supervalu planned to sell eight stores to Kroger, 10 stores to Harris Teeter, owned by Kroger and three to Food Lion.

It is not clear how current Farm Fresh employees feel about the liquidation, but there has been a number of layoffs announced since the process began. Farm Fresh stores employed hundreds of people in the Peninsula area, and nearly 1,000 people could be out of work after the sale of so many stores, according to The Daily Press.

With 21 stores already sold, there are still plans to sell the remaining 17 stores. Food Lion has purchased the Farm Fresh store in Phoebus, the grocery store closest to campus.

Obamas-Netflix partnership sparks excitement

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Kyra Robinson

Top streaming service, Netflix, and Barack and Michelle Obama are currently discussing the creation of a new series that could significantly benefit both Netflix and the political power couple.

According to The New York Times, while politics will play a major factor in the focus of the show, Obama is not planning to use it as a platform to reply to President Trump and his criticism of Democrats and Obama-era policies.

The programs will be centered on issues that the President and First Lady addressed on when they were in the White House, such as health care, immigration, and nutrition.

Sophomore Nia Saunders, who has not been pleased with recent selections on Netflix, believes this project will be very positive one.

“I don’t think the show should be used to respond to Trump,” the Political Science major said, “Their legacy is far bigger than that. I hope they devote the show to positivity and uplifting the masses.”

The New York Times interviewed Eric Shultz, Obama’s senior advisor while he was in office, who noted that the Obamas always had a passion for inspirational storytelling.

The Obamas will be able to reach over 100 million people with this streaming service. With already 101 million people following Barack Obama’s Twitter, a ready-made viewing audience is anticipated.

Strategic Communications major and sophomore Kenya Cummins is a film fanatic who enjoys what Netflix has done with its original content. She also loves the Obamas for their “level-headedness and strength.” She believes this move will benefit Netflix financially and bring in more subscribers.

“The voice[s] of the Obamas [are] among some of the strongest and most influential in modern history,” she explained.

“They have iconic personalities. Having a window into their true emotions and opinions will absolutely make an interesting show.”

Like Saunders, Cummins does not think the show should be used to address conservatives and the current circumstances with the Trump administration.

She believes what the Obamas have the ability to do is so much bigger than that.

While Cummins would prefer the Obamas tour and give speeches, Saunders believes she will become a regular viewer if the Netflix show becomes a reality.

“As a black woman, Obama’s voice means hope to me,” Saunders said, “His power means hope for our own future, hope for our own legacy, and hope for our own success.”

Virginia colleges require parents’ visa status for students’ admittance

Mia Luckett | Contributing Writer

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Flickr User: Benuski

Quetzali Cruz is a high school senior with a 4.03 GPA, working toward an international baccalaureate diploma. One would think these accolades would be enough to receive benefits from the state’s second oldest institution, William & Mary.

Although Cruz’s transcript proved she was a Virginia citizen, when William and Mary officials asked for the visa status of her parents, Cruz was denied in-state tuition.

Colleges in Virginia such as William & Mary, Christopher Newport and Old Dominion have required students to provide their parents’ immigration papers in the admissions application process.

Students at Hampton find these practices of neighboring Virginia universities to be unfair. Sophomore Mecca Gladney voiced her frustration with the legislation.

“This legislation is problematic because it holds students, who want to further their education, accountable for issues that they have no control over,” Gladney said.

“A lot of children are born here, and their parents work hard to make sure their children have better lives, so denying them access to education and/or at a cheaper price for education is not fair.”

According to the Washington Post, this has been happening to students all over the state. Eric Wolf Welch, a veteran social studies teacher who runs the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college preparation program at Cruz’s high school, said three universities – Old Dominion, Christopher Newport and William & Mary – have demanded parents’ immigration papers from his students.

HU sophomore Vashon Gordon believes that this kind of legislation promotes inequality.

“We represent ourselves. I shouldn’t have to suffer just because of the status of my parents,” Gordon said. “Just because their parents weren’t born here doesn’t make them any less or different or any less worthy of state benefits.”

Though the federal and state courts have ruled that U.S. adult citizens cannot be denied access to financial aid due to the citizen status of their parents, universities defend the policy because they claim federal and state financial aid rules automatically assume persons under 24 are dependent on their parents, and the parent must prove state citizenship for the student to qualify for in state tuition and financial aid.

Gordon disagrees, stating that this is not a good enough argument to deny students financial aid.

“A lot of students in college are not dependent on their parents,” Gordon said.

“A lot of students are first generations, and they may be on their own without their parents’ help. You can’t assume everyone’s parents are helping them out. Some people come from backgrounds with one parent, and that one parent may not be able to help them. Are the [students] really dependent?”

Representatives from William & Mary and Christopher Newport have confirmed this practice, stating that it falls within Virginia law.

Hampton students find that Virginia schools have just begun to enforce this legislation because of the influence of the current administration.

“According to the United States president, there are many “issues” with people being in the country illegally, and although this may be true, children should not be punished for their parents’ actions,” Gladney said.

Sophomore Lakiylah Mitchell also believes Virginia schools must enforce these legislations because of the power the administrative holds.

“I really would say the current presidency because he has enacted a lot of laws against immigrants particularly, however Virginia is not supportive of the presidency, as can be evident through our votes,” Mitchell said.

“The state is very democratic and not supportive of his laws. However, he is still a person in power, and we have no choice but to go along with him. But it’s not OK.”

Florida, New Jersey, South Carolina and the District of Columbia have all been sued for the same practice, ruling it unconstitutional in every court case.

Virginia Passes Law for Expungement of Marijuana Charges

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

On Monday, Virginia took a step towards pro-marijuana reform by passing a bill that now allows those charged with marijuana possession to expunge their first charge by paying a $150 fee.

The bill was proposed by Republican Senator Tommy Norment and had a 38-2 vote. Norment considered the bill’s win to be progress for marijuana reform. Norment’s Democratic colleague, Senator Adam Ebbin opposed the bill for its inability to stop the racial disparity of marijuana arrests, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Originally, Norment had planned to push for a decriminalization bill, but ultimately decided against it because he did not believe it would pass in the Virginia House of Representatives.

Sophomore Victoria Ford is a Political Science major who intends to be an international human rights lawyer, and she believes the bill is a step in the right direction.

“Marijuana is becoming more normalized every day, and I think the United States needs to start shifting with society,” Ford said.

The expungement fee is a significant aspect of the bill. According to Senator Norment, the revenue from this fee will go to preventative opioid abuse education.

While he considers the bill to be progress towards marijuana reform, junior Political Science Maurice Foster Jr. believes the fee was not necessary.

“It just seems like the state of Virginia just wants more money. However, I am happy that the fee is not extremely outrageous,” Foster said.

Foster actually had his own legal troubles after being found with marijuana in his possession.

“By the grace of God, I had a great lawyer that protected my freedom,” Foster said on the matter, “But that isn’t the case for many who are arrested.”

He believes that marijuana should be legalized due to how many people use the substance.

“I feel like too many people are labeled as drug addicts for using a substance that has been proven to be safer than many other substances that are currently legal,” Foster said.

Currently, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law. Former President Obama implemented a policy to keep federal prosecutors from bringing charges in states where the substance is legal, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under the Trump administration, rescinded the policy.

“I think it’s just a way to continue to racially profile minorities,” Ford said, “At least if Virginia is trying to reform marijuana law, other states can follow suit.”

Historic royal engagement excites millenials

Kyra Robinson | Staff Writer

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Courtesy of Chelsea Harrison

After breaking the internet with their historic engagement announcement, Great Britain’s Prince Harry and television actress Meghan Markle have set their wedding date to May of next year, according to CNN reporters.

They announced their engagement Nov. 28, and social media went into frenzy, since the love affair was widely considered so untraditional.

Markle is half African-American, half Caucasian and a divorcee — the first to marry into the royal family in 81 years, Fox News reported.

The most recent time America cared so deeply about social affairs in Great Britain was when Prince William married Duchess Kate Middleton, and then people across the United States woke early in the morning to watch the Westminster Abbey wedding take place.

Now, there is more American participation and input because of Markle’s citizenship.

The actress and blogger is mostly known for her role of paralegal Rachel Zane on USA Network’s legal drama Suits. She also has made appearances in films, including Horrible Bosses, Remember Me and Anti-Social.

However, she did not truly become an A-lister until the news broke in 2016 that she was dating Prince Harry. Vanity Fair even reported that she was the most searched woman online in the last year.

Hampton University sophomore Destany Manns is a loyal viewer of Markle’s current show Suits and was ecstatic when she heard of the engagement.

“I’m so happy for her and so excited to see an American woman of color in the British royal family because it’s nice to have that change in tradition,” Manns said happily, adding that she would wake up early to watch their wedding as she also did for the current Cambridge Duke and Duchess.

Markle expressed in an Elle interview last year that she did struggle to get cast because she could never properly fit the roles due to her being “ethnically ambiguous.”

Markle struggled to fit in because she felt “too white” to be black and “too black” to be white.

However, that did not stop African-Americans on social media outlets from celebrating the union between Prince Harry and Markle.

Twitter exploded with calls of “black princess,” and there was general excitement for a woman of color having that opportunity.

“It’s what we really need in the current political climate,” HU sophomore Jordyn Edwards said.

Edwards had no prior knowledge of Markle but became quite invested when the news broke.

“It’s representation that is needed globally for black girls,” Edwards said. “I’m excited to see where this goes.”