Senator Menendez speaking at the North Hudson Campus in September
Senator Menendez speaking at the North Hudson Campus in September
Sipa USA via AP

A Senator’s Visit to HCCC

A student’s point of view on Senator Bob Menendez’s press conference to the college in the Fall

On September 25, 2023, the college had an unexpected visit. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez came to the North Hudson Campus of HCCC to give a speech about the ongoing corruption investigation. None of the students knew he was coming, and we were confused about the whole commotion. I won’t get into the allegations against him but want to recall what the day was like for me and other students on campus that day.

I remember that day. I had class and was confused about what was going on when I got to campus at 7:00am. In the areas around the building, the sidewalks were full of news crews and reporters. I went inside and everything looked normal. During the class, out the window there was a caravan of black cars parked in the bus lane next to NJ Transit light rail station. However the class went on as normal. After my class ended at 10:35am, I went downstairs to go to the Multipurpose room on the 2nd floor, but it was filled with guards, security, as well as state and local law enforcement. There was also a journalist and media crew waiting outside the multipurpose room. I asked one of my friends if he knew what was going on, but he had no clue either. I went to my next class, and the whole commotion seemed to die down a bit. We were allowed back into the Multipurpose room where the Pizza with the President was scheduled to take place. I sat down and we had pizza; however someone told us that President Reber would not be attending.

I left the campus and noticed a few people, including some students, being interviewed by television news reporters. Once I got home, I was shocked when I told the story to my mother, and she knew that Senator Menendez had visited the college. Actually, she knew a day before hand that he would be visiting the Union City area through something she had seen on Facebook. She just didn’t know it would be at the college. Later that night, I read that his purpose was to defend himself against the corruption allegations.

I asked Christian Rodriguez a HCCC Student about his experiences on that day. He said “I saw a handful of police officers along with the news standing outside the campus. The inside was as crowded as it was outside. Protected by security.” He also adds, “I had class that day. It came to me as a shocker since it was unexpected, I questioned whether something happened.” I also asked him if he had met or seen the senator but he hadn’t. He added, “The experience was alright. It just caught me off guard but other than that it was good. I think they should continue to host such events to represent HCCC more and making it more appealing to others that it’s a good college.”

Overall, this was one unexpected experience. Who knows when we may have another political figure visit our campus again. Hopefully, the next visit is a for a better reason. 

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