As I was working on my story about iconic Texas Southern University debate team emeritus coach Dr. Thomas F. Freeman, I was able to get my hands on a VHS tape that would take my story to the next level.  So I arrived early at the Jack Valenti School of Communications, located the Manager of Media Production and asked about converting the VHS tape. He eagerly offered to locate the equipment to help get the job done.

But as we walked out of the cable room, he noticed my Texas Southern University sweater. And that’s when it happened. Our conversation took a dramatic shift:

Manager of Media Production: Oh! You go to Texas Southern?

Me: Yes,

Manager of Media Production: Ok. You can take this tape to the Manager of Media Production at your school. He can help you. Do you need me to give you his information?

Me: (Chuckle) Actually, I am very aware of who he is. I’m just laughing because I’m a guest in your home for the week and I came to YOU because I’m down the hall from YOU.

Manager of Media Production: Yeah. No. Take this to YOUR school and if they can’t help you, THEN I’ll help you.

I felt the cold chill of disdain and disrespect coming from this staffer  at the University of Houston Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.

What was it that caused such a dramatic attitude shift? Was he experiencing a severe case of laziness??

Perhaps. But in the back of my mind I thought about the well-known, yet unspoken division between the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. Usually it’s the students at Texas Southern who have experienced the cold shoulder of disrespect, the most.

The first day of #nextgenradio, our mentors made it clear that we are now family and they would always have our back. I must admit, I was skeptical at first.

Then they  jumped to my rescue and made me a believer. There are four schools represented in this project –Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, University of Houston and University of Texas-Austin. We are all committed to moving forward.

Together.

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