Undergraduate and graduate political science students alongwith their professors and advisers converged at Howard University‘s Douglass Hall on February 24, 2004 for the Presidential State of the DepartmentAddress. In an intimate atmosphere, the group engaged in lightconversation about the Political Science Department and itseffectiveness in keeping lines of communication with studentsopen.
Hosted by the Graduate PoliticalScience Association, the hour-long meeting began with a speech byRay Crawford Jr., president of the association.
In his address, Crawford expressed theneed for more communication between the faculty and students.”We are the hope and dream of the slave,” said Crawfordwearing a navy blue suit and tie. “Political excellence iswhat we must recognize. We must celebrate the renewal of studentand faculty dialogue.”
Dr. Lorenzo Morris, interim chair ofthe Political Science Department, addressed the audience with asense of humor and quick wit. Agreeing with Crawford, he statedthat faculty and students “have a lot of work to dotogether.”
“You encounter HowardUniversity in little ways and big ways. Once you comein, you never leave,” said Davis. “The influence of graduate school isquite binding. These people are with you for the rest of your life,like it or not.”
Dr. Don Davis, graduate politicalscience professor, in a frank tone, moved students to realize theprominent role they play in university life.
“The university is an enterprisewhich involves the administration, student body and faculty,”said Davis. “But the entire operation isultimately rationalized by your presence here. You are the primaryclientele. Subsequently, you enjoy the greatest measure of weightwhen it comes to making demands seriously.”
Kamante Thompson and Mercedes White,president and vice president of the Political Science Societybrought the concerns of their peers to the group. There were sevenbasic matters including technological advancement, more teacherinteraction, a greater variety of courses and more chairs withdesktops, they expressed to their advisors.
Don Davis interjected again putting theresponsibility to take action on students.
“You [students] need to demandsomething in return, at least a desk. Some of those things occurbecause you put up with them.”
Davis ended the meeting will a call for activepolitical involvement amongst graduate and undergraduate students.
“Activism, we need to do more of;reparations, a third party, a Black political party. It isdifficult to integrate into a formal classroom setting,”pronounced Davis. “If we start that type of activity,it will perpetuate itself.”