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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

By ANDREW SHAIN - ashain@thestate.com

Benedict College senior Lovell Jackson thinks President Barack Obama needs to treat his second term differently than his first.

“He should take an aggressive approach now,” the mass communications major from Tampa, Fla., said Monday of Obama’s inauguration. “We got all the history out of the way. Let’s get down to business. … The first four years seemed so surreal. Now, it’s real.”

Columbia’s largest historically black college set up a video screen in its Swinton Campus Center dining hall so students could watch the second inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president.

“He fires me up,” Chris Wesley, a junior accounting major from Chicago, said of Obama.

Students said they hope the president will bolster college financial aid, job growth and health care while enacting gun control.

“I’m glad the soldiers are back home,” said Demisha Tyler, a biology sophomore major from Bamberg.

Some students also worried of growing apathy among young African-Americans after Obama won a second term.

“We play a role in just keeping it alive … and saying, ‘OK, he was able to get into this position. Now, we see that our face could do it,’ ” said Kioka Tanksley, a mass communications major from Augusta. “He paved the way like Martin Luther King did.”

Latoya Ramey, an elementary education junior from Plainfield, N.J., said she was as excited as four years ago, clapping in the Benedict dining hall after Obama finished taking the oath of office.

Like Jackson, she hopes the president also is more assertive during his second term. “He was trying to even himself out so people don’t think, ‘He’s only for blacks,’ ” Ramey said. “He spread himself thin.”

However, Jocilyn Daniels, a senior mass communications major from Hackensack, N.J., who snapped photos with her smartphone of the large screen projecting the inauguration, said she would like to think Obama will have a more laid-back second term.

“Now, everyone knows what he can do, and we know he’s trying to do more,” she said.

Some students said they would like to see first lady Michelle Obama run for president in four years. “You can relate to her,” Ramey said. “She’s all about education and women’s rights.”

If not the current first lady, several students favor former first lady Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state, for president.

“The best is yet to come,” said Bamberg’s Tyler. “We have got to keep praying about it.”

Source: The State Newspaper