James Hankins recalls his experiences serving as the political affairs chair of the Society of African American Culture. Interview on July 14, 2011. (2:06)


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When I joined SAAC I believe I was a senior at the time 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:05.762
and I think at that point I had been involved with student government so heavily 00:00:05.762 - 00:00:10.421
that I decided that I wanted to get involved with something that was outside the realm of student government 00:00:10.421 - 00:00:15.886
but within an area in which I was interested in, 00:00:15.886 - 00:00:20.275
and when I ran for the office I was happy to win it. We were able to 00:00:20.275 - 00:00:25.496
talk about political issues on a different level than I think we had in the past. 00:00:25.496 - 00:00:32.086
I tried to bring in new stories-it's kind of what I do in teaching now too a little bit- 00:00:32.086 - 00:00:39.697
tried to bring in new stories every meeting and things that needed to be discussed. 00:00:39.697 - 00:00:42.739
I didn't go in depth but I glossed over and said this is something that's going on that you might be interested in, and this is, and this is, from world, national, local and campus politics. 00:00:42.739 - 00:00:52.354
So I tried to bring that to the meetings and tried to bring that to the community, 00:00:52.354 - 00:00:57.608
and I don't know how effective that was in the long run but I do think it was 00:00:57.608 - 00:01:04.432
something that was good to try. 00:01:04.432 - 00:01:06.115
I also had the opportunity to run a debate for student government candidates 00:01:06.115 - 00:01:11.787
and it was an awkward situation because a lot of them were friends, 00:01:11.787 - 00:01:16.573
really good friends of mine, but I made sure that before we did the debate-. Because SAAC had always done a debate, 00:01:16.573 - 00:01:24.253
and the questions in the past had kind of been softball and not really getting at someone's true motives for what they were doing or what they really want to accomplish, 00:01:24.253 - 00:01:34.288
so I did a lot of research on each one of the candidates. I researched voting records, if they were in the senate I looked up stuff that they had taken positions on from their platform or whatnot. 00:01:34.288 - 00:01:45.322
and I was able to ask some hardball questions to some people. Some people didn't like it at the time, 00:01:45.322 - 00:01:49.986
but it was fun and I think it was one of the better or more informational debates that we had, so that was my experience. 00:01:49.986 - 00:01:59.513

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