Black University's New 'Face' Stirs Controversy

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The historically black college, Hampton University, in Virginia recently crowned its first non-black homecoming queen.
    
But not everyone believes the new Miss Hampton should be the "face" of the school-- and it originally brought up concerns about race.

"It's actually an amazing feeling," the new Miss Hampton University Nikole Churchill said shortly after being crowned. "I feel that we have come so far that no one really looks at color anymore." 

Churchill soon realized, however, that not all the students were in favor of her holding the title.

"Quite a few of my friends have been upset," said university student Kiara Williams. "They feel that because she goes to the satellite campus in Virginia Beach she can't adequately represent us, because she's not around us. And that the fact that she's white, also upsets them pretty much, too."

In response, the Hawaii native wrote a letter to President Obama saying her crowning was not "widely accepted" because she isn't black and requested he visit the school to talk about race relations.

Churchill later apologized for writing the letter, however, after meeting with student leaders and administrators on campus.

"I truly apologize to all students, faculty, staff and alumni," Churchill said. "I took the comments of a few and blew it out of proportion."

She added that many students and alumni have since come to support her.  A former Miss Hampton University is one of them.  

"I was very shocked, probably like most people," said Patrece Parson, Miss Hampton University 2003. "But then I thought it was wonderful because it shows how diverse really Hampton University is. And it's historic." 
    
Churchill now hopes to put the controversy behind her and begin representing her fellow students.

Hampton University leaders say the beauty queen's race is not an issue.

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