homecoming controversy

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Pageant winner makes history at historically black university

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HAMPTON, Virginia (CBS) – A young woman made history at a Virginia University Wednesday night by becoming the first biracial pageant winner at a historically black university.

Nikole Churchill was coronated as Hampton University’s new homecoming queen, becoming the first half-white, half-asian winner.

“As soon as she was announced the winner, you could hear seats closing, and people booing,” said Hampton University Junior Ashley Sowell.

Some on campus and many more on the internet made an issue of Churchill representing the school.

“You expect to see those types of roles, your representatives… let’s be honest, I want to be represented by someone who looks like me,” said Hampton University Junior Sade Scott.

The University says the controversy is overblown. Officials say Nikole Churchill has the full support of the university. She got a standing ovation at Wednesday night’s coronation, and says she’ll serve proudly.

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Congratulations are in order for the 22-year old college Hawaiian senior who became the first ‘non black person’ to receive the honor on at the historically black University on Friday!  But it seems that everybody on campus wasn’t happy to see Nikole take home the crown, and things got so bad she wrote a letter to President Obama:

Aloha Mr. Obama!

My name is Nikole Churchill, a senior nursing major at Hampton University. This past Friday October 9, 2009, I was honored to be crowned Miss Hampton University 2009-2010. It truly was the best night of my life! With that being said, I am sad to say that my crowning was not widely accepted and many negative comments regarding my win have been shared throughout my campus.

It would be much easier to say that possibly some were not accepting of the news because I wasn’t the most qualified contestant; however, the true reason for the disapproval was because of the color of my skin. I am not African American. Despite the unfortunate beliefs that some are saying I should not have won, I am desperately trying to focus on those who believe in me and support me and my goal to represent this beautiful, multicultural campus the very best way that I can. I would love your help!

I am hoping that perhaps you would be able to make an appearance to my campus, Hampton University, so that my fellow Hamptonians can stop focusing so much on the color of my skin and doubting my abilities to represent, but rather be proud of the changes our nation is making towards accepting diversity. People are even nicknaming me, “lil Obama” because of various reasons. This is truly an honor as well!

I am also from Hawaii (Wahiawa) and I am hoping that you can assist me in opening some closed minds and help share some aloha spirit throughout my campus. I feel as though you could relate to my situation, which is why I immediately wanted to contact you. I was interviewed last night at the HU vs. HU football game by news channel 13 and I mentioned how individuals such as you and myself are making changes in hopes people can stop placing so much focus on our skin color by letting that define what we can, cannot, should, and/or should not do. Dr. Harvey welcomed me last night to the family with open arms and I was beyond honored when he told me that he is behind me 100%. I am proud to represent Hampton University and I am so proud having you to represent our home, our country. Your support with my crowning as Miss Hampton University 2009-2010 would be graciously appreciated. Please reply, I will be looking forward to it!

-Nikole Churchill

letter via

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One thought on “homecoming controversy

  1. A high percentage of Hamptonians are just as light or lighter than Nikole – not to mention, our founder, Mary S. Peake & current president.

    Furthermore, Nikole is ITALIAN (NOT White) & CHAMORRO(NOT Asian), as Hampton is actually historically Native AND Black!

    Lil Crawford c/o ’97
    Louisiana French Creole & Boricua (Puerto Rican)

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