Class tracks black candidates

By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Students in an African American Studies class are throwing an election night party to analyze the results of the elections involving 48 African American national congressional candidates.

The African American Politics class, AFAS 255, has been researching the 48 African American congressional candidates, and predicting their chances to win in the various elections for the bulk of the semester, said Wendy Theodore, the professor of the class.

The class will hold a party tonight at the Martin Luther King Center, 1322 E. First St., from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The party is open to the public.

The 40 students in the class have prepared prediction posters with information about the candidates and why they may win or lose, as well as information on money issues and how African Americans may have voted.

"We definitely have a lot of eyes and ears out there for these people that are running and don't really get noticed," said Kelvin Jones, preceptor for the class.

They will monitor election results as they come in on three TVs and will analyze the results as they come in.

The students that have been studying the candidates are well informed on the elections and will be on hand to discuss results with anyone who attends, Theodore said.

"They are experts now on their particular candidates," Theodore said.

The party is funded by a $297 university grant to encourage faculty and students to interact outside the classroom.

"It reduces stigmas and increases students' feelings of acceptance, encouraging students to go to graduate school," Theodore said.

The four class preceptors planned the party and they expect to see anywhere from 100 to 150 people at the party throughout the night.

"This deals with the ethnic effects of the election. It's a real service to the public to get this information out there," said Jones, an undeclared junior.

The class was required to complete at least 10 hours of community service for any political campaign in town. Some volunteered at the Democrat and Republican headquarters, and with the League of Women Voters and the Stonewall Democrats. Others participated in campaigns about gay and lesbian issues, Theodore said.

The class is looking forward to the party and the chance to find out the results after more than two months of research, said David Manthei, class preceptor.

"The opportunity to get the results as they come in and analyze the candidates that were elected is going to be a great experience," said Manthei, a history senior.

The class is expecting a good turnout and they have received R.S.V.P.s from 85 people, seven of whom are professors.

The class is excited to have the party and looks forward to showing guests the hard work they have been doing over the semester.

"It's a great idea. The students really have a feeling they were doing something positive," said Mohamed Tounkara, an economics senior and class preceptor.