February 5, 2009

Cheyney University Students Respond to Negative Media Coverage

As a result of an on-campus fight that took place last week at Cheyney University just outside Philadelphia, students respond to local media coverage. Most likely the only reason the story was covered at all on television is because cell phone video of the fight showed up on YouTube. Another example of how the Internet influences the things and events that are considered news. That however is a completely different story from this one.

The problem I have is that media, be it local TV stations or even Black websites; never cover any positive stories about Black colleges. We only hear positive stories about Black colleges from Tom Joyner and maybe some other places during this month of Black History. Cheyney University and Lincoln University both Historically Black universities founded in the 1800's, are located within an hour drive of Philadelphia, but most of what you hear about them are negative.

Now I found a link to the following story on Rushmore Drive, a website that touts itself as a a one-of-a-kind search engine for the Black community that delivers a blend of mainstream search results with their opinion. ...Really? Their opinion on this story was "Can't we just get along?"

Here's the story: Cheyney University is calling a halt to on-campus parties while a weekend fight is investigated. University President Michelle Howard-Vital has appointed a task force to review what led to the fights that ended with four people being cited for disorderly conduct and one treated and released at a hospital.

A Cheyney fraternity invited students from nearby Lincoln and West Chester universities to a party at the dining hall on the Cheyney campus 20 miles west of Philadelphia. But several hundred people apparently tried to crowd into the hall. University officials and police say fights broke out and police used Tasers and pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Cheyney spokeswoman Antoinette Colon says no Cheyney students have been charged. The task force will recommend how to prevent similar incidents.

So Rushmore Drive obviously would just rather regurgitate the mainstream media stories and negative stereotypes instead of focusing on the positive aspects of two Black universities in small Pennsylvania towns, that has only produced the likes of the late TV news journalist Ed Bradley, poet Langston Hughes and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, among other African American achievers. The Cheyney University story was one of only three stories Rushmore Drive put in the news section of their website yesterday.

Maybe Rushmore Drive should hear it straight from the students of Cheyney University:



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