KPU, Greek organizations host AU alum Rep. Donald McEachin
Congressman addresses May hate crime during remarks
Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., spoke Tuesday at AU about the state of the Democratic Party and his experiences at AU. McEachin is an AU alum and former brother of Kappa Alpha Psi. He served as student body president in 1982.
During the event, McEachin addressed topics ranging from college debt to the May hate crime targeting Student Government President Taylor Dumpson. Dumpson previously served as president of the Intercultural Greek Collective, which co-sponsored the event with the Kennedy Political Union and Kappa Alpha Psi.
“Believe it or not, I got elected president back in 1981 and nobody hung any bananas anywhere,” McEachin said. “So hopefully that attitude has corrected itself and gone back to the pits of hell where it belongs.”
The congressman, while speaking about his time at AU, mentioned that his freshman year roommate was Gary Cohn, Director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to President Trump. A student protest was held last year during December calling for Gary Cohn to resign from his seat on the board of trustees due to a meeting he had with President Trump. Rep. McEachin said he believes Cohn “is still a Democrat at heart.”
In addition to reflecting on his time at AU, McEachin offered advice to students facing the prospect of student debt after graduation.
“We all remember Hillary and Bernie’s plans for a debt-free college education, but that did little for those who are already in school and already amassing a lot of debt, and so I suggest to you that we need to figure out a way for you to maybe do some public service and have that forgiven,” McEachin said.
McEachin spent the last portion of the event answering questions from students and audience members. One audience member asked about the current environmental climate after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma ravaged Texas, Florida and islands, such as Puerto Rico, in the Atlantic.
“I would just ask you all to remember, while you’re thinking about everything else in the continental United States, do not forget the Virgin Islands,” McEachin said. “St. John has been wiped out.”
McEachin answered a final question addressing the perceived division within the Democratic Party, particularly between figures such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“I would suggest to you that that tension does not exist. Anybody who has to start their sentence with ‘the Democrats:’ I have an issue with you telling me how to run my party,” McEachin said. “This is a message to Bernie Sanders: I have some trouble with him telling me how to run my party. Don’t be preaching to me when you’re awful on gun control, all right?”