TSU community sees hosting Democratic debate as springboard for progress

The vibe on this college campus is a good one, the kind of exhilaration that comes with a rare, national spotlight for all the right reasons.

Strolling along the beloved Tiger walk, Texas Southern graduate Damien Jones says staging a Democratic national debate on the grounds of this historically black university broadcasts a welcome message of future support from both a party and the field of presidential contenders.

"When you think of the Mickey Lelands, the Barbara Jordans, this is what they envisioned. At a time when HBCU’s are being challenged, their integrity and credibility, across the board. Black and brown students need these universities,” said Jones.

On this campus, which generates more Black graduates than any university in Texas, the presence of a pivotal piece of the democratic process, has inspired a desire to participate. Over two days at a single table across from the student center, more than a hundred students registered to vote.

“Just having (the debate) here, in our face, has really brought the importance to forefront,” said Kazhari Ray, a TSU student.

“It gives us exposure, but it also lets students know that their votes counts,” said Dexter Maryland, a political science major at TSU.

With history set to unfold before the eyes of the world in a three-hour span, the Texas Southern University community is ready.

“I may shed tears tomorrow. This is happening here and I am extremely proud,” said Jones.

While relatively few TSU students will witness the debate in person, a major watch party is scheduled at TSU’s Sawyer Auditorium.