All posts by brandenhampton

Chicago State grad defies the odds amid Illinois budget crisis

By Branden Hampton

When Felix Mitchell started his first semester at Kennedy-King College in 2014, he suddenly lost his job as a sales representative at Comcast. He received some financial aid, but was concerned about how he was going to survive without a job to pay for school. It was his second try at college.

Mitchell dropped out of Grambling State University, in Grambling, La, in the early 1990s due to his mother’s illness and the birth of his son. But today is a different story. Mitchell, at 44 years old, graduated last week with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Chicago State University on Chicago’s far South Side.

He started working this week as an account executive with Echo Global Logistics in Chicago and plans to pursue grad school part-time in the fall at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Continue reading

Students of color talk about lack of diversity on campuses–and how to make change for the better

By Branden Hampton

Recent racial incidents on local college campuses have brought to light the dissatisfaction felt by black students on predominantly white campuses.

Just this week, Northwestern University made news when two students were charged with vandalism and hate crime for spray-painting racist, anti-Islamic and homophobic messages inside the Alice Millar Chapel.

Continue reading

Chicago State’s WCSU radio station is school’s hidden treasure

By Branden Hampton

Chicago State University student and campus radio personality Thomas Hibbler says the station plays a unique role in the radio broadcasting arena.

“We’re not locked into a specific genre of music. We’re not stuck into the same rotation in the music that we play,” Hibbler said. “Here at WCSU radio, we also have the opportunity to kind of be a platform for new independent artists that are coming up locally. National artists that are not signed, but are looking for an opportunity to be heard.”

Continue reading

Behind The Hit Sitcom ‘227’: Hollywood Living Legend Christine Houston

By Branden Hampton

Before there was a Shonda Rhimes or “Scandal,” there was someone in Hollywood that paved the way.

Christine Houston, a Chicago native, is the creator of the hit 1980s sitcom “227” that aired on NBC from 1985 until 1990. She is the first African-American woman to receive a “created by” credit in primetime television.

Continue reading

Tracking black ancestry: lessons from genealogist Tony Burroughs

By Branden Hampton

If you think that black lives matter, then ancestors’ lives matter as well: Without them, we wouldn’t be here today, says renowned African American genealogist Tony Burroughs.

“Genealogy is important for many reasons. Once you start researching your family history and finding your ancestors, you might find that some of them were activists in their struggles during their days, like our activists in Black Lives Matter today,” said Burroughs.

Continue reading

Black women activists focus on prison pipeline, joining the fight for social justice

By Branden Hampton

Eighty percent of prison inmates report that they were in foster care as youth, and the foster care-to-prison pipeline must be dismantled, according to social justice activist Charity Tolliver.

“When we look at the boom of the prison system in the ’80s, one of the systems that also exploded at the same time was the foster care system,” said Tolliver. “It went from being 20,000 [children] overnight to up to a quarter of a million. Today there are half a million [foster] children.”

Continue reading

State budget cuts leave college students in limbo, some tweet Kanye West for help

By Branden Hampton

Students and faculty at public colleges are furious about being left without state funding as a result of an eight-month state budget standoff that could force layoffs and program cuts.

“[Legislators] can’t continue to use the taxpayers’ money and then look at the taxpayer and say, ‘Well, we don’t have any money.’ Those guys work for us,” said Thomas Hibbler, a junior at Chicago State University. “Take a pay cut. Channel that money [to colleges] for the next two years. Because every other year these guys are getting raises.”

Continue reading

City Colleges, Chicago Public Schools teachers push for elected boards

By Branden Hampton

Faculty at City Colleges of Chicago are banding together with their counterparts in Chicago Public Schools to push for legislation that would bring elected boards to both districts.

Both groups want to curb Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s power by ending his ability to hand-pick board members, as well as the chief executive officer of CPS and the chancellor of City Colleges.

“Right now our mayor has too much power over the decisions about education, frankly. There aren’t any checks,” said Kim Knuston, the faculty council president at Wilbur Wright City College on the North Side.

Continue reading

New Malcolm X campus offers state-of-the-art healthcare training

By Branden Hampton

The state-of-the-art healthcare simulation labs at the new $251 million Malcolm X College campus will help better prepare students for careers in high-demand health science fields.

The simulation emergency room, ambulatory and trauma labs will allow faculty to replicate the vital signs and other physical responses of a critically ill patient, using a mannequin that must be correctly taken from the lab’s ambulance to virtual ER for urgent care, according to Daniel Okhilua, nursing lab manager at Malcolm X College.

Continue reading

City Colleges plans to consolidate programs sparks complaints

By Branden Hampton

After numerous complaints from students and faculty, the City Colleges of Chicago has postponed the consolidation of all of its child development programs at a single campus on the North Side.

The consolidation will now take place in the fall of 2018 instead of fall 2016, according to Jennifer Alexander, the faculty council president at Richard J. Daley College in West Lawn and one of the vocal opponents of the consolidation. CCC’s child development programs are now located at six of the seven campuses and the original plan was to move all of them to Harry S. Truman College in the Uptown neighborhood.

Alexander added that she was glad CCC made the decision to postpone the move, but the potential negative impact on students was “still unacceptable.” The decision was made by the Board of Trustees in December 2015. Continue reading