Journalism Students Say They Were Racially Profiled at Rubio Event

Senator Marco Rubio is currently campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination.

Two black NYU journalism students say they were racially profiled while reporting at a Marco Rubio town hall event in Bedford, New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon.

Director of NYU journalism’s Reporting the Nation program and professor Yvonne Latty said members of Rubio’s campaign staff addressed two of her students, Ugonma Ubani-Ebere and Taisha Henry, as they started setting up their film equipment. The women were confronted by a staffer who asked them not to film the town hall as they lacked press credentials.

However, Latty said she believes Ubani-Ebere and Henry were profiled because staff members did not request proper press credentials from adjacent white students.

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“[Rubio campaign staff] stared at them and kept approaching them to tell them to put their cameras away even though white students, without credentials were filming,” Latty said in an email.

Even though the two students were eventually allowed back in the building to film, Henry said that the incident at Rubio’s townhall tainted their otherwise rewarding and memorable experience in New Hampshire.

“We were on this high from the whole weekend, we’re covering this huge national story,” Henry said in a phone call. “Rubio was our last stop and to have everything happen at the Rubio event, the whole trip kind of ended on a sour note.”

Henry added that she felt it was unfair that one might overlook her and her colleague’s positions as student journalists because of their ethnicity.

“We’re journalists,” Henry said. “We’re not there as activists, we’re not there to be some kind of heckler. We’re there to cover it, to report on it in an unbiased way. We shouldn’t expect to be racially profiled.”

The Marco Rubio campaign did not return requests for comment. WSN will update this story as it develops. You can view the NYU journalism’s live blog coverage of the New Hampshire primaries at the New Hampshire Chronicles.

Email Anne Cruz at [email protected]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I am so disappointed to hear about your experience, but frankly, I’m not surprised. This is a primary season characterized by offensive, hateful rhetoric from candidates who are playing to the fears of small-minded, fearful white people.

    Please don’t let this experience deter you from pursuing your goals. It’s time for the media to get back to reporting accurately, fairly and neutrally. We have enough voices on the right and left, and far too few looking at issues objectively.

    I’m the mother of an NYU journalism student, so I appreciate how hard you’ve had to work to get where you are. Good luck!

    Laura Mullen
    Overland Park, KS

  2. I agree with Ms. Mullen and then some – there is too much offensive hateful rhetoric playing to the fears of both fearful white people AND fearful black people AND fearful immigrants, fearful LGBT people, on and on. I support NYU’s efforts toward providing objective reporting that will help all of us remember how much we have in common. We all want a safe country with a growing economy and equal opportunities for our children.

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