Posted: 4:54 pm Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
By Eric "Hollywood" Davis STAR 94.5
Two teenage girls showed up at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C., wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
BuzzFeed News reported that Allie Vandee, and Sarah Applequist, both 16, who attend school in Union City, Pennsylvania, got a sharp response from students.
According to the Union City High School students, who are white, they were part of a group of 30 teens on a school trip in which they visited Washington, D.C.
Around lunchtime, they and their school chaperones arrived on campus and went to the cafeteria.
Essence Dalton, a student at Howard, saw the teens and posted a picture of them on Twitter, saying, “Who told these lil yt girls they could come to THE HU like it was about to be some joke.”
who told these lil yt girls they could come to THE HU like it was about to be some joke pic.twitter.com/ACgkNJWB69
— מַהוּת (@EssenceDalton) August 19, 2017
Howard University Dining responded to Dalton’s tweet, saying, “We will take any action necessary to ensure that HU students feel safe& comfortable in our dining spaces. This group is no longer on campus.”
After the visit, Vandee tweeted, “#noshame #MAGA,” along with a screenshot of a longer response in which she said in part, “It’s unfortunate that more Trump supporters have to fear going places than others. I will never be embarrassed for supporting Donald Trump. I will always support OUR president when, and wherever, I please,” Essence Magazine reported.
“We were not even through the front door to get through the cafeteria, and a man, a black man, walked, had walked through and took my friend Sarah’s hat right off her head,” Vandee told BuzzFeed News. “We were getting dirty looks and were completely harassed by these Howard students.”
“After a lot of hate, our head supervisors decided it would be a good idea to keep the peace and find somewhere else to eat,” Vandee said in her response on Twitter, according to Essence Magazine.
“Howard University students have no time for white supremacists and neo-nazi sympathizers on our campus. Good riddance,” Howard’s NAACP chapter wrote in response to Vandee’s tweet. “Truth, service, and justice for all and bigotry cannot occupy the same space so we’re glad you decided to leave. We aren’t going anywhere.”
Truth, service, and justice for all and bigotry cannot occupy the same space so we're glad you decided to leave. We aren't going anywhere.
— Howard Univ. NAACP (@HU_NAACP) August 19, 2017
According to Vandee, she, her friend and the school did not know Howard was an HBCU — a historically black college or university — and she is not sure why they went, since visitng the school was not on the itenerary. But BuzzFeed News reported later in its coverage that Vandee said Howard was on the itinerary from the start. Applequist said they were supposed to visit a zoo instead.
“I don’t even think our advisers really knew. We just thought of Howard University, we know it’s historic, so we kinda went,” Vandee said.
According to BuzzFeed News, Vandee paused at times during the phone interview, pausing for long periods before answering questions and “sometimes repeating answers being murmured audibly by someone else in the background.”
When asked about whose answers she was repeating, she said she was with her grandmother but was not being told what to say.
“I’m sad that these people don’t know me — I’m not racist, I’m not homophobic, and just because people support Trump doesn’t mean they are racist or homophobic, and it’s just not fair to us,” she said.
Applequist said she bought the MAGA hat at Pentagon City Mall the day before visiting the campus. She said that she didn’t know Howard is an HBCU, but even if she did, she still would have worn the hat.
Dalton told BuzzFeed News she blames the adult chaperones more than the students.
“My personal concern isn’t the young girls, it’s the adults who should have better informed the girls of the history of our university and why the Trump paraphernalia might be inappropriate in light of recent racial tensions especially coming from non POCs (people of color),” Dalton said. “Tensions are extremely heavy between POC and non-POCs and Trump is much to blame for that.”
The university released a statement about the incident on Twitter:
“Today, there were visitors on our campus who were wearing paraphernalia that showcased their political support. This occurrence and the responses on social media that followed emphasize the need for and importance of human interaction. The recent events in Charlottesville are the latest examples of the deep divisions that exist in our country.
“Though this is an institution where freedom of thought, choice, and expression are ever-present, we will never compromise our values or allow others to convince us to do so. We will remain committed to truth and service and boldly affirm who we are and what we stand for. Our campus is a space for educational engagement to occur between both those who do and do not share our values. Thankfully, when visitors set foot on our campus they are met with some of the brightest and best students in our nation. Howard students are not simply academically advanced, political activists, leaders, and mentors. Howard students represent all that is right about America.”