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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  February 18, 2015 6:30pm-7:13pm EST

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as long as we are on a cr where were strained to last year spending levels and we are unable to engage in new starts, new initiatives for spending new initiatives, new spending for border security. we still need to pay for the enhanced border security we put in place last summer. we are unable to enhance border security, to strengthen border security. we are unable to do some of the things the secret service independent panel is recommended for the secret service. we are unable to hire for the coming presidential election cycle. we are unable to fund new non-disaster threats to many of the people in this room in uniform. we are unable to fund state and local law enforcement with our grants as long as we are on a continuing resolution. and we know the importance of those grants to state and local
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law enforcement. just for example when i was in phoenix a couple of weeks ago to inspect the security of the super bowl i met with state and local law enforcement. it was pointed out to me that all the communications equipment, all although surveillance equipment there was funded by my department. as long as we are on this er we are unable to do these very important things for homeland security. so we need a fully funded department of homeland security especially in these challenging times. so thank you very much for being here. thank you very much for coming to washington and we look forward to a good discussion. thank you. [applause]
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last week "washington journal" visited several historically black colleges and universities to talk to college administrators about the state of their institutions. we are replaying those interviews all this week on c-span2. next the president of fisk university in nashville tennessee. this is 40 minutes. >> host: throughout the month of february we are visiting several historic black colleges and universities. this is done in conjunction with the c-span bus making a visit to these tours. we started up at howard university and continued through several. fisk university in nashville tennessee is where the c-span buses today and joining us on the c-span bus where conversation is fisk university president president james williams. good morning. >> guest: good morning and welcome to historic fisk university. >> host: thank you for having us on board today. before we start talking about your university a little bit about your background in your
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experience includes several awards specifically in teaching. i wanted to see what you have learned his first teaching students especially college students and how you apply that to what you do day-to-day as the president of the university? >> guest: well this is about teaching and learning. be i was invariably the teaching or learning and they learned a long time ago that in order for a teacher to be effective he or she must first of all of the subject matter but then that teacher must also love the student. and so the best fundamental to who i am and what i'm trying to do in the classroom and all good teachers i think are doing that. and of course as president often i am still in the position of trying to teach and teaching isn't lecturing. certainly not any more. it's more about interaction and it's about engagement so what i try to do in my day-to-day business is to make sure that
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i'm engaging my faculty and staff colleagues so we can work together and learn together and grow this university. >> host: so when you are looking for a teacher or professor's for your university what is it that you look for a site from academics? what's that something special you want to help bring the university along? >> guest: well first of all we are looking for that caring sort of personality. the person again has to not only love the subject matter but has to love the student, has to love facilitating education because that is what we are all about here. that is what we are looking for first and foremost that person with that kind of personality that wants to engage students and understands that learning isn't just about lecturing that teaching isn't just about having folks listen to you but rather getting those folks involved and engaged in the real learning so they in fact begin to understand which is really the essence of learning.
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>> host: president williams talk a little bit about your university. you're in a state which features colleges like vanderbilt university and the university of tennessee college system. how do you sell your university to students particularly african-american students who aren't just sitting going to your university? >> guest: well first of all we have quite a reputation and history and tradition of academic excellence, leadership excellence and in fact we also have a social justice excellence aura that we got from years ago and the notion is if you want to be involved and you want to be apart of something fairly special come to fisk university. not only do you walk these hollow wood grouse and get to feel the sense of what it means to be a scholar, what it means to be a leader, what it means to be involved and engaged and concerned about social justice issues you could only get that by being here. we talk all the time about
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encouraging students and getting them to take a look at fisk but we know when they visit this campus we have a great chance of capturing them if you will. the alums always say what you may think you are choosing fisk fisk actually chooses you. so that is where we try to sell fisk university. we have always been a leader in this stem area science and technology have always been our calling card so to speak and especially during these days that's a very compelling kind of a prospect. when we tell students about these opportunities they want to come and see who we are. and then finally the fact that we are smaller is a real benefit because at fisk university we tell parents all the time your son or daughter cannot hide. we are going to know who your son or daughter is. we are going to know him or her by name. we will be able to keep tabs if you will because we will want
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them to be engaged all the time not just in the classroom but every day every hour. inside the classroom and outside the classroom and the living centers. we believe we have a great environment with a lot of highly intellectual highly motivated young scholars who challenge each other as challenge each other as well assure faculty member to become the best they can become. >> host: president williams he mentioned your colleges size. a current rate of 773 students. his concern that people are looking at such a small student body what kind of services and education i can receive at a college that small? >> guest: we talk about it as being an advantage. we are trying to grow our moment back to 1200, 1500. fisk university is great as it isn't never been more than 1500 students. but it's been a real advantage.
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our alums develop great relationships that sustain them over a lifetime and whenever i'm around the country talking with alums i can feel the sense of love and respect they have not just for the university but for each other. and irrespective of the classes. the fact that we are small is a real advantage that we understand for us to be sustainable we need to continue to grow our moment and go back to the 1500 mark. >> host: president president williams are you concerned for the state of historically black colleges and particularly the size, 106 institutions across the nation and maybe 300,000 attending these universities. as far sustainability is concerned what is your sense of the future? can you sustain or can the system itself be sustainable? >> guest: absolutely. first of all hbcus continued to be super relevant because we have proven that we can take
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students from all walks of life and help them to make the best of themselves. that tradition and that heritage of working with students one at a time and caring for them one at a time makes all the difference in the world. we will be able to continue to compete that we have to make changes. our traditions are strong and our heritage heritage and histories that we need to make sure we are adjusting so we can be competitive going forward. that means making sure we identify or niche programs and those programs that have served us well over the years that we are moving them along so they will be remaining on the cutting-edge and we are able to compete not just for african-american students but for the full array of students in this country and around the world. we are trying to do that and i believe that we are. we are collaborating more now than we ever have as a group of historically black colleges and universities and supporting each other and helping each other to map out a future that promises
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to be fruitful so yes i am encouraged and i'm optimistic we will be able to sustain ourselves the naysayers notwithstanding. >> host: the month of debris the c-span and c-span bus visits historically black colleges and universities and we invite leadership to come and visit. there are two lines free to call if you attended hbcu call (202)748-8000 and anyone else can call (202)748-8001. again our guest h. james williams the president of fisk university. the first calls from richmond virginia. good morning. go ahead. >> caller: hello, good morning. i attended fisk from 2000 to 2002 and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.
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i am living in richmond virginia and i follow the news they are. the question i have for president williams is about the new residence hall that has been talked about in the media. i was just wondering what he could share with us about that and what does he think that signals about fisk's renaissance as the alumni in the system? >> how come only two years at this? did you finish the program there or did other circumstances force you to go back to -- >> i'm from a modest family virginia. i change my major to history. fisk is a historic school and you have alumni such as dubois and devoney and history has been my calling. i left fisk in 2002 and finish my degree at nor folk state university and i've worked in
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the nonprofit sector and worked in education right now i'm working for myself as a business owner doing correspondence resumes and cover letters for people who are trying to better themselves. that was my situation after leaving fisk. >> host: caller, thank you. the president williams go ahead. >> guest: first of all this is a good example of one of the real concerns we have. you asked earlier about whether we will be able to sustain ourselves as a group of colleges and universities in my response is absolutely but one of the real challenges we have is trying to address the affordability issue because we understand how important it is for families to be able to know and to be able to plan for how they are going to finance their son or daughter's education. here at fisk we have a particular concern about what we call that gap and we call at it minding the gap. we believe there is this gap
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where this is what it takes to earn a college education not just here at fisk that virtually anywhere. this is what families can afford to pay an elite status with the federal government says. what we find almost invariably students and families cannot afford with the federal government says they can. what happens is that gap widens. here's what it cost to be in school and here is what we can afford to pay. so at fisk we are concentrating on trying to figure out how we close the gap. we want to squeeze it as much as we can so we do our best to control our costs so we can manage what price we have to charge. but then buttress what the families can pay. one of my concerns is that the federal government talk about reducing the perkins loans and reducing stafford loans, those kinds of moves will hurt our
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ability to close that gap. that means that gap gets wider and we have to work more diligently. having said that we believe that we can do little things to help the whole process. for example we recently instituted a tuition freeze which means that beginning this fall students and families will no bet if you come to fisk u. will pay this number as a tuition and that number won't change her for years. we are trying to families to be able to plan and to finance their sons and daughters education throughout their four-year time four-year timeframe. we are we are also trying to encourage young folks to comment comment, take 15 credit hours for each semester and graduate in a timely fashion. we are hopeful that the tuition freeze will help us with that issue. now i want to get to the question i was asked and that is about our living learning center
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i think. just know that what we are trying to do at fisk is to make sure we can effect this renaissance. we need to reinvigorate ourselves in different ways and if building is a reflection and a manifestation of our commitment to moving this place forward an aggressive way. >> host: we hear from janus in culver culver culver city kentucky on honor others' line. janice go ahead. >> caller: first i would like to say that we love nashville and in college we learned many things and because of my education in college i don't believe that we should be involved in the affairs of overseas then be drawn into their wars. because of the way they have done i don't think we should do that anymore. i was just wondering what do you
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think about our involvement in the affairs of russia or with isis or jordan? >> host: caller, thanks. president williams. >> guest: again. >> host: go ahead. >> guest: my reaction is we live in a global society now and what happens anywhere in this global society has an impact on all of us. i am not a proponent of fighting wars indiscriminately and we certainly don't want to risk our sons and daughters lives irresponsibly but on the other hand i think we have a responsibility to ourselves to make sure that we are having positive impacts around the globe to the extent that we can. >> host: president williams someone asked off of twitter if your university has a foreign student program and where do students come from?
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>> guest: we do indeed have a foreign student program. we recruit and enroll international students from all across the country and they come from literally all across the country. so we are looking to even grow our international moments and we have an international center that we are developing. we expect to be able to recruit even more international students as we move through time that these students come from literally all over the place, eastern europe and africa and from the islands and literally all over the world. >> host: we have a line set aside for those who attended an hbcu. mrs. westin and chattanooga. go ahead. >> caller: yes, thank you and congratulations dr. williams. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i am 65 years old and i'm a vietnam veteran and i had the privilege of attending tennessee state university in
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1977. on my va disability entitlement program and at the time i was given the opportunity for a job at fisk so you can imagine i just love nashville. i call nashville my second home. we here in chattanooga would love for this type of atmosphere to be able to spread beyond these mountains which we are surrounded. education is very much lacking in the city of chattanooga and for us to be so close to nashville we really do a disservice to our young students. they very seldom get the opportunity to attend an hbcu like i did. >> host: we will let president
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williams respond. go ahead. >> guest: well we certainly want to make sure we are doing what we can do not just for nashville but for the state of tennessee and the nation as we have done for over 149 years now. there's an opportunity for us to be more involved in chattanooga we want to do that and we certainly want to encourage young folks there to apply to come and visit fisk university so that we can have an opportunity to connect with them in ways that maybe we haven't in the recent past. thank you for that and we will be looking to chattanooga baby more than we have in recent past. >> host: president williams your university is combined with vanderbilt in a program program. what is program? >> guest: we have what we call a bridge program and it takes students from undergraduates through master's degree or ph.d. and we have been very successful successful. and that program has produced more ph.d.s in physics that
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are minority than any program in the country and we rank in the top 10 of all masters degree persons in physics. so we have been doing a great job at vanderbilt and we have that relationship with virtually everyone of the universities in the region with my hairy medical college, with belmont in lipscomb tennessee state university. we have some kind of arrangement by which we share academic programs and support each other throughout this community. >> host: you are talking about stem programs earlier president williams. our historically black colleges and universities adapt or there are a lot of them that offer physics and higher science type programs? >> guest: we have quite a few hbcu programs across the country. they do a great job in the stem areas. some zero imam engineering like north carolina amt and north carolina for example but others
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delve into the sciences and we do a great job across the country hbcus that is in making sure young folks have those opportunities and most importantly graduate minority students in the stem areas. >> host: is that a concern the graduation rate? >> guest: absolutely it is. and in the stem areas in particular because there are so many especially minority students who go elsewhere and are not able to finish those programs for whatever reason. many times they wind up being discouraged for so many different reasons and they wind up changing their majors and they wind up not persisting through the stem programs. in our colleges and universities they do so we are really proud of that fact and we encourage young folks to come to our institutions because we do a great job in the stem areas in particular. >> host: palm bay florida you are next. go ahead. >> caller: good morning dr. williams and thank you for being here.
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i think historically black colleges are a great thing and great opportunities for people to go to and stuff and they have been around for a very long time. there is also though all the other colleges say diversity is one of the biggest things in learning and teaching college-age students. how does the black college handle that besides foreign students? is there a special ways to do that and my second question really quickly in melbourne we have the main street named -- and i have always wondered the history to the lipscomb name. thank you. >> guest: well first of all i have to admit that i can't really give you any information regarding the lipscomb name. i'm just not knowledgeable about that but i will say we agree
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that diversity is super important and it's super important in our berman as well. our young folks have to understand how to work in a pluralistic society as well. we do everything we can to make sure that we give our students those experiences. number one by sending them out and number two by bringing in students from other colleges and universities around the country in the world and we do a great job of recruiting for diversity. we are making strides in making headway in that area. we have rising percentages of minority students here at our institution. we are probably still less than 3% at this point but we are doing a better job of recruiting so we have the diversity here in our community that we need. the other thing i will say is when it comes to faculty and staff fisk university has a history of having a very diverse faculty and staff throughout its existence from early on for over
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149 years now. we have always valued the diversity elements and we understand how important is for folks with different perspectives. we have students from literally all around the world and across this country. we have a pipeline virtually to los angeles and oakland, houston and dallas detroit and chicago miami and new york city and washington d.c. so we do a great job of bringing all these different mindsets and these different ways of thinking from across the country and around the world together so they can come into this melting pot of learning and understanding. >> host: jenny who attended an hbcu from tallahassee florida go ahead. >> guest: >> caller: yes dr. williams. would you give the world information about why these schools are called historically
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black schools? i attended florida a&m and i have never had anyone say to me you can't have this job because you attended a historically black college. >> guest: i'm not sure understand the question. >> host: she asked about the nature, the historical nature of hbcus but if you can apply to fisk university specifically a result of efforts made in the civil war and particularly religious institutions as part of your founding. is that correct? >> guest: absolutely and way back in 1865 as the war was ending folks gathered here and the american missionary association was the leading group that the group got together here in nashville and said what are we going to do when they do when the soon-to-be freed slaves become a part of society and they need to be
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educated. fisk university was conceived in the fall of 1865 and we began business on january 9 of 1866 but the whole idea was to make sure african-americans in freed slaves and for that matter at fisk it was about all young folks and specifically on him -- all young folks not just african-americans are freed slaves would have an opportunity to educate themselves in ways that would make them contributors to society. that is their history and that is true basically across the country. it was size about making sure we could help folks educate themselves in ways that they could be productive citizens. >> host: president williams about fisk university, where it does he get its name? >> guest: general fisca was one of the founders and he was the one who provided the land on which fisk for started business. >> host: here are shone from shrewsbury massachusetts on her
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other line. we are joined today bye bye h. james williams the president of fisk university in nashville tennessee. sean, go ahead. >> caller: hello mr. williams. i wanted to say i attended benjamin franklin in boston for a couple of semesters and i just wanted to know what struck me about that school was the racial diversity and not once did i hear anybody talk about the race thing. i had a couple of quick questions in the first one is don't you think the hbcu organization is perpetuating the racial differences and my second question is why aren't you talking about this racist president. [inaudible] post our apologies president williams. >> guest: that's okay, i missed the second part anyway but i will say we have hbcus have never rejected anybody of
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any color. our notion as i spent to make ourselves available and accessible to all and i would also say while we continue to exist is not to continue to perpetuate any differences or separation but rather it's an opportunity for us to continue to serve our population the same way that i worked at notre dame for many years and i worked at georgetown for many years and they have heritages. they have traditions of serving particular populations. .. revenue. guest: we hope not. we have a similar program in tennessee that goes into effect as fall. to this point, we are not showing any ill effects of
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students having an opportunity now to go to community college free of charge. we believe we will still be able to recruit, track, and retrain the students we have always recruited attracted, and retained. we can conne witese committee suree to the extent that we can connect with the community colleges and make sure that we have the kind of articulation agreements that allow children to move smooth -- move smoothly and seamlessly we will be better off. if the program that president obama's proposed we will bring more students than we would otherwise have rather than have them not to go to a four-year institution that i think were going to be fine. >> you talked about sustainability.
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your endowment, 20 million. is that a concern moving forward? >> it absolutely is. we have instituted a host of different activities and initiatives to begin to build that endowment to where it needs to be. it's a long-term proposition obviously. >> new haven connecticut. >> good morning. i want to apologize for the gentleman that was rude. in reference to the age issue do you believe that that hinders like the other gentleman had said, do you believe the colleges should be by colleges?
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my personal belief is that they should be. i like to call them are lighter skinned brothers and sisters or deny us education so is of the opinion that we should not be educated. african-american studies in english. >> the english, one of the areas we are looking right now. when it comes to the race issue we believe we should have diversity. most of our communities across the country. i think about north nashville.
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now on talking about fisk, tennessee state university american baptist and particularly for african-americans we provide an opportunity that i'm afraid we might not have as we were here. where we always try to contribute. our notion has been that we have to make sure that all of us are well educated and have the opportunities that are afforded us as americans. >> you talked about your role in stent technology education. someone on twitter, how should by colleges make the humanities more relevant? is they're a shift away from the humanities?
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>> well, in fact i think some of the discussions we are having right now about the value proposition of colleges and about gainful employment and how much money you make as soon as you get out of college it's fueling that whole notion. you have to be in the stem area if you want to be a productive a productive citizen which could not be further from the truth. liberal arts education we believe in the whole person and developing the whole person and focusing 1st and foremost on the intellectual skills. if we develop the intellectual skills the way that we might and must then those professional skill sets that change over time will be adapted. we won't have a problem with those. we are proud of what we have been able to do to zero in on highlighting the importance of the
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humanities, especially arts, music, they have been mainstays of the fiscal effort. our students study art, music, host social sciences as well and humanities and wind up better prepared to be able to lead the world to adapt to a dynamic environment and then i going to be the leaders as we move through time. we believe that we do a good job of providing these folks opportunities to make a difference in the world after 12 lines 12 lines for you to call today. if you have attended. everyone else. here is is stephen from laurel maryland. go ahead. >> i went to winston-salem state university. going to talk about diversity. i would hope that you would mention the diversity within the black committee itself
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the easy caribbean people people that are straight black american from all across the globe that are black that come to hbc you. nationalist leaders attended lincoln university. the motivation for the freedom at ghana, but i also was wondering you, you spoke about what i wanted to talk about the impact of the hbc you and the committee that may have may be denied communities access to jobs and income otherwise and how hbcus are such a great help to the black committee, especially throughout the south. how can an alumni network be built how should an alumni network be built to help filter the endowment that you spoke of. >> collar, thanks.
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>> well i figured the gist of that and clearly our alarms are very, very supportive committed to our university, and i would say that most hbcus. so we are going to depend greatly significantly greatly significantly on our alarms as we build this endowment and no that they will be supportive and we will be able to get to where we need to go. >> from indianapolis indiana, here is brian. >> good morning. how are you doing today? >> i am well. >> i am a proud graduate and alum of the class of 80 and want and encourage you to keep up the good work but i also encourage you to please reach out to our program hear in the city of indianapolis call center for development that prepares high school students for
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college curriculums. it should is a gold mine command i was in attendance at a gala a gala last year where they give a scholarship to a student which. -- perked my ears right up. i encourage you to reach out center for development is run by dennis. thank you. >> the center for development. got it. >> your background is in corporate and tax attorney issues. how issues. how did you end up the present of fisk university? >> that is an interesting question. >> go ahead. >> i want to tell you folks all the time you need to work hard at whatever your doing whatever you are doing it and keep an open mind and open eyes and open heart and follow where the lord leads
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you. so i took a securities route here. the education and experience i have had have prepared me well to serve as president hear. it was not a great divine plan of mine to become president of any university for that matter but as i progressed through time and learn and gain experiences i realize that i do have an opportunity to make a contribution, and that is what i am trying to do hear. >> charles from buffalo, new york. go ahead, please. >> thank you very much. dr. williams, 1st of all thank you for the work, transactional lawyer, morgan grad. we share the same here malady. my question to you amongst the and executive level of
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across the country do we foster or encourage broader participation and looking at us as viable institutions for not only educating but providing a cadre of individuals supportive of the american system of economic education as well as social equity. how do we go about increasing the number of people looking at our institutions and sending their children and others to participate in that she. >> thank you. >> i think we need to make sure 1st of all that we are making ourselves as competitive as we need to be providing the cutting-edge education that prepares young folks and
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only be able to go out of the job market but to be cheerleaders for the communities, and i think we have done a good job of that to this.but we need to do more of that. finally we need to actually tell our story more broadly more aggressively perhaps so that persons understand who we are, what we are, what we're doing we are doing here. you talk about social justice in particular. i am proud to say our young folks have not lost that edge. they understand the responsibility inherent upon those you have been able to educate themselves and those who have opportunities to educate themselves to try to fend for those who cannot fend for themselves. they have stood up and shouted out in the name of social justice and continue to do that. >> judy in virginia beach virginia. you are on. go ahead. >> i want to doctor williams to comment on the advantages
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of his -- historically black challenges to five colleges and universities. i have two brothers who attended virginia state and they graduated from virginia state. i have know problems with my grade.average but they're is were not high. an opportunity to go to school, obtain there college degrees without having any problems getting in. >> you just have a committee that provides a comfort level for a lot of students who come to work with us. there is something to be said for that. that is why students go to notre dame georgetown because many of them feel


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