NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students rocked the vote on a historic Election Day.
Students gathered Nov. 8 for a “walk to the poll” rally on the university’s main campus before heading to nearby Hadley Park polling station to vote in a presidential race that saw the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. Democrat Hillary Clinton, however, ended up losing to Republican Donald Trump.
“The purpose of today’s rally is to really get students acclimated to the political arena, and get them engaged,” Aarian Forman, president of the Student Government Association, said earlier that day. “We want to make sure that students understand the importance of doing their civic duty of voting; not just in the General Election, but midterm elections as well, for senatorial, mayoral, for governor, every level of election. We want them to know that their vote is their voice, and where there is no vote there is no hope.”
State Rep. Harold Love Jr., a TSU alum, who joined the student rally, said he was happy to see the level of activism on a college campus.
“College students need to have an understanding of the importance of their vote,” Love said. “These are our leaders for the next generation. And this race is too important for anybody to sit on the sidelines.”
Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at TSU, said whatever the outcome of the election it is history-making.
“We are going to tell our children that we were there,” Morgan-Curtis said. “Moreover, it will be exciting to have our first woman president. These students are doing what they are expected to do. They are the hopes of their forefathers and foremothers and if they don’t vote then they are not paying forward what they owe.”
Angelica Jacox, a member of the Student Election Commission, said it is exciting to participate in her first presidential election.
“I think it’s really exciting for me and a lot of students who will be voting in their first presidential election,” said Jacox, a senior political science major who helped to organize the rally. “For us to participate in this history-making election really means a lot because we haven’t always had the right to vote.”
Ernest “Rip” Patton, a TSU alum and Freedom Rider who was a champion for voting rights during the Civil Rights Movement, said he is glad to see “young people” participate in the process.
“I’m proud of the fact that they voted, and hopefully students from other schools around Nashville took note and followed in their footsteps. It puts TSU out front, and I’m very proud of that,” Patton said.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.