Naming of White Homecoming Queen at Hampton University Causes Stir

Earlier this month, Nikole Churchill was chosen as Miss Hampton University. The title enables her to serve as homecoming queen and compete in the 2010 Miss Virginia pageant, a stepping stone to the Miss America pageant. Churchill, a 22-year-old nursing student from Hawaii, is the first white Miss Hampton in the university’s history. Blacks make up 96 percent of the student body at the historically black educational institution.

After Churchill was selected, she claimed that many people on campus were upset that a white woman was chosen to represent the university. As a result of the criticism, Churchill wrote a letter to President Obama, which she published online, asking the president to come to campus to give a lecture on racial tolerance. In the letter, she wrote, “I am hoping that you can assist me in opening some closed minds.”

Churchill later stated that she regretted writing the letter and bringing negative attention to the university.