President's Lecture Series: Tameron Hall

Alex Scruggs | News Editor

Broadcast journalist Tameron Hall spoke at the Ted Center last Thursday evening as part of the President’s Lecture Series. Hall’s speech surrounded the topic of domestic violence, and the fact that it is preventable to a large extent.

Old Dominion University paid Hall $25,000 for her appearance.

La Wanza Lett-Brewington, director of the ODU Women’s Center, introduced Hall, listing off her career bullet points. Most notably, she hosted Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall on the Investigation Discovery channel and was a host of the Today show on NBC.

“I feel like I’m at a Baptist church, you can move down,” said Hall, walking in to the room with a look of awe on her face after being introduced. “I’m overwhelmed.”

Hall began her speech by describing the view from her hotel window of passerby on the sidewalk. “I saw that you have diversity. Old, young, black, white… Looking out that window, seeing this diverse group of people; we’re all in this together.”

Much of the lecture contained a serious subject matter, but Hall’s jovial demeanor made for an overwhelmingly positive tone. “We have much more in common than we have different,” said Hall, transitioning to the topic of domestic violence, and what can be done when then signs become visable. Hall’s sister, Renate, was murdered in 2004 after suffering domestic violence for some time. “It is why I have dedicated my life to sharing that very painful story,” said Hall, tearing up. “If I can share it, maybe someone will hear it and be spared this pain.”

Hall spoke about seeing the signs of domestic violence in Renate’s relationship, and not knowing what to do at the time, and therefore rejecting her. Now, Hall works with victims of domestic abuse at a shelter. Her message to us was that it is crucial to be accepting and loving to victims of domestic abuse, not question why they stay in their respective relationships. “You have to be open to giving help, but they’ll only take it if they want it,” she said.

After speaking for about 20 minutes, Hall sat down with Cathy Lewis, ODU’s community engagement liaison and host of WHRV talk show HearSay for a Q&A portion. Lewis asked Hall questions posed on Twitter by audience members. Before starting the Q&A, Lewis said, “Tameron has been off the Today show for about a year now… Ratings are down 20 percent since then.” Much applause followed.

Hall left the Today show after her contract expired. “I don’t want to be anywhere that I am not appreciated,” she said during her speech. Since then, Hall has been waiting for an offer that appeals to her. Last summer, she was approached by Harvey Weinstein to do a talk show of her own. That fell through last October after over 80 women accused Weinstein of sexual assault and other manipulative acts.

Intending to return to journalism, Hall said that this speech will make her better prepared for her next job. Responding to a question from Twitter, Hall said, “I’ve worked since I was 14, I’ve never taken more than two weeks off.” Now, after her departure from the Today show, Hall says that she’s been able to “let go of everything” and do what she wants.

Zaria Waddler, an ODU sophomore and M-Power educator with the Women’s Center appreciated Hall’s message about domestic violence. “I know someone who is involved in a relationship like that. I know what (Hall) meant,” said Waddler. “You just have to listen, you can’t question why they stay in that relationship.” Waddler admired what Hall’s free spirit brought to campus, “She cried but she was able to tell us exactly what happened. She wasn’t afraid of anybody judging her.”

“We should be more accepting of each other,” said alumna Sarah Shaffer after the speech. “I miss Tameron on the Today show, so I don’t watch it anymore. I had to come see her,” said Shaffer. Sonia Wieczorek, a sophomore, also was excited that Hall came to campus. “I’ve watched the Today show forever, Wieczorek said, while pushing through a crowd following Hall out of the venue at the end of the night, all trying to get a selfie.