Cultivate It: Miss Hampton’s Letter to President Obama

image from facebook- Miss HU is in the middle

image from facebook- Miss HU is in the middle

Hampton University

President Barack Obama

October 11, 2009

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

Virginia Beach , VA

Letter posted on


So what do you think of this?

Posted by A.J. Washington



  1. I dont agree with her quick decision to write a letter to the president….I mean she just won the crown on Friday. I do agree with her that people are making the color of her skin a reason for her not deserving the title. Just because its an HBCU does not mean a black woman has to represent the university every year……as long as shes qualified and represents Hampton well, then I wish her luck…but writing Obama was a no-no, or at least she should have had a Scripps or english student help her with it. lol.

  2. I am proud of her. It is hard enough to go to a HBCU but to get the kind of talks behind her back over it, that’s just sad. HU has more and more non-black students every year, so I am not surprised that a non-black student won. If she qualified for the position, then why is the school against her winning? Are they all racist or something?

    • This is excatly why she should not have writen the letter, public misconception, in her letter she said most of the school supports her, your comment “are they all racists” was an insult to Hampton U.

  3. If she won, the school obviously cannot be all racist – that’s just not logical, so don’t be opportunistic.

    She must have had the majority vote yet, as with everything in life, there are some in disagreement. You can please all of the people all of the time. That’s just how life is – take it as an opportunity to put the issues on the table and find ways to improve things and move forward.

    Certainly, if there were some flaws in the voting process or she was not qualified, that would be a different story.

  4. As a student my complaints are her qualifications. She doesnt have a face on campus. she hasnt done anything the the other contestans have on campus as far as community service and student organizations. She is a VA Beach student so why should she represent a student body that she rarely if ever cane in contact with before winning he crown? She shouldnt and no matter what it isnt right. People on the outside can not voice their opinion because all they are basing it off of is here letter. What does she think she is proving? Obama was qualified for his position she lacks all of the qualifactions other than the fact that she has a pretty face…..

  5. I am also proud of this young lady for winning. Although I wasn’t present at the crowning ceremony, I was told that she was the best candidate by far. Let’s also to take into account that judges chose the winners and not the student body. I was shocked at the discriminatory comments that I heard about her representing the school as Ms. HU. Its funny how the race card gets played so often especially with the head of our country being of color, and now at Hampton University, a prestigious HBCU, the newly crowned Ms. HU, who is MIXED, doesn’t have the full support from her student body. Its too late to complain, suck it up and back her up.

    P.S. And I DO believe the letter to the President is a bit extreme.

  6. #1 Miss Hampton is not a student selected event. It is ran by Miss America and no longer has any tie to the school. This is a ridiculous way to determine the face of a university. Miss America standards are not the same as Hampton University standards.

    #2 I was not at the pageant, but I have heard from many people that she was not the best person in the contest

    #3 She is a transfer student. She did not apply and get into hampton the way other students who are dying to go to hampton, get in. She is also on the satellite campus. How can she go to Admin Council meetings and address the needs of students she does not know? Is she going to travel to main campus to come to meetings? She is not involved in campus in any manner. Before she made her facebook page private, all of her groups were from VCU (school she transferred from), her activities included going to the beach and hanging with friends. Should she still be the face of the school? No

    #4 If she had gone to main campus, she would have known that it was in poor taste to draft such a letter that can be easily accessed bad mouthing the institution. She is trying to make it a federal offense that students who CHOSE to go to an HISTORICALLY BLACK college or university, are upset that someone that does not look like them is the face of the school. In a world where WHITE people think HBCUs are no longer necessary and enrollment is on the steady decline, having a WHITE (yes she is italian and guam which = american, even if she is hawaiian, she’s American a white girl, stop trying to give her a minority) woman as queen.

    #5 I hope this is not Hampton’s sad attempt to get President Obama’s attention. There are other ways to go about it than to stage a win just to cause disruption, but alas, I wouldn’t put it past my dear old alma mater.

  7. Q: How can Miss HU 2009 state that she wishes people would stop “…doubting my abilities to represent…”
    How can she trully represent a HBCU that she does not even attend?
    A: She calls it “my campus” but she definitely attends the Virginia Beach Campus…so much for that African American experience. Does she know which class she is a part of? Is she Onyx, O Phi O, QT? Does she know the Hampton University Hymn? Does she really know the history behind the school that she currently represents?

    Q: How can Miss HU 2009 verbalize the needs of the students, of the university?
    A: She cannot because she doesn’t know what they are. Why? Well, she’s never stepped foot in the INFAMOUS CAFE, VC (does she know what that is?), Kelsey, Davidson, White. Neither has she interacted with fellow students via participation in campus activities.

    Q: Did she really deserve to win?
    A: Survey says: NO! She definitely did not do the most community service nor did she participate in extracurricular activities that are dear to HU like the Student leader programs, Student Governmental Organizations, Student recruitment organizations, or even a BGLO. She did not have the highest GPA. She was not the most articulate. She was not the best contestant there. I could see if she made a conscious effort to participate and get to know the students at HU’s main campus prior to her decision to compete in the pageant. However, that was not the case.

    ***History Time***

    Hampton University is a Historically Black College and University not a “black school”. It was founded with a purpose in mind: to educate black people since integration was not an option. Of course as time evolved so did the campus therefore, the doors were opened to diversify the student body. Not to be confused, HU still is a predominantly black campus. On the Hampton University’s homepage, it clearly states “HU’s strong roots reach deep into the history of this nation and the African-American experience.” Key words: strong roots & African-American Experience.

    Beyond the deeply rooted history, fundamentals, and principles that the university was founded under, more importantly it serves as a sign of hope for black youth. Something to aspire towards. The black youth who think they’re not good enough, smart enough, capable enough. They look at HBCUs and all the intelligent black people that work, attend, and are end products of an HBCU education and it serves as motivation. Hence the reason why President Obama’s victory was so emotional, essential, powerful. Let us NOT forget how we felt. It was like this one victory was for all the blacks everywhere who were ever doubted, judged, told we could not do it, we would never make it, etc.

    With that being said….

    Miss Hampton University is meant to be the face of the school. She is suppose to exemplify the ideal Hampton lady. A lady that every Hampton University Lady should strive to be like. She will be featured in EBONY magazine. I personally find it offensive that MY alma mater that I chose to attend for the HBCU experience will choose a non-African-American, who does not even attend the main campus, to represent Hampton University. She will be posted on the Hampton University homepage, so now when students and aspiring students go to the HU website to find out more information regarding this HBCU there they will see a picture of what “Hampton University” considers an ideal Hampton lady. A white Miss HU 2009 at a Historically Black College and University. Now, what message does that send to a black student aspiring to attend Hampton University, a HBCU?

    • I agree with what you’re saying. Maybe, when she matures, she’ll speak on WHY she believes she was selected as Miss HU.

      I wonder If Pres Obama responded to her…………..

  8. Well said Dr. HU Alumni! I could not agree with you more.

  9. I feel the selection of Ms. Hampton speaks of the vote results and not her attendance on campus. To me, it is completely irrelevant if she attended main or satellite campus. The voting issue is tantamount: if she does not represent the student body, then how was she (s)elected? Ms. Churchill was one of a few candidates to vote for. If this is representative of this year’s selection, fine. If it became a recurring majority vote, then I as an Alumnae would have a huge problem with who is reflective of Our Home by the Sea as an HBCU.
    AND if she is representing the school, this includes the main campus and she needs to do some regular visiting of the campus in order to hold such a key title. The message most will derive from a Ms. Hampton who is not Black is that the student body selected someone without preferring race first. Not a bad statement — but again, can’t be the norm.

    • As said before, the student body DOES NOT CHOOSE MISS HU. Miss HU is chosen by judges approved by the Miss America pageant because it is part of the MIss America pageant. If there was a majority student vote SHE WOULD NOT HAVE WON Because NO KNOWS HER.

  10. she should have never written the letter. It’s obvious she has never dealt with racism either directed toward her or stuck up for others discriminated against. the Hamp U staff supported her, that should have been her first line of addressing her misplaced feelings. Maybe the “Miss America” people who run the pagent, if it weren’t so one sideded (racially), would task her to Just that….speak on racsim that happends eveyday against others.
    Maybe as she matures she’ll see how trivial her situation was and maybe with her eyes opened she’ll identify with others who really are being discriminated against.

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