All Articles Tagged "HBCU"
From Black Voices
Before coming of age as a student at Hampton University, Carl Gray was a staunch, frequently lone defender of his conservative values. Ask him to recall a specific time where classmates or friends really challenged or debated him on his politics, he can’t remember one — because a teacher or administrator always got in the way to defend liberal policies and the fellow students that believed them.
“That in itself was discouraging to know that teachers and professors wouldn’t even allow for students to have their own discussions regarding political beliefs,” said Gray. “It was ‘My way or the highway’ in those classes. You either agree with the liberal philosophy or face the wrath. I often felt that I was being indoctrinated rather than taught. I actually learned more on my own, by reading both sides and making my own conclusion.”
Read more at BlackVoices.com.
Fear Of A Non-Black Planet: How I Survived Having HBCU Dreams But A Predominately White University Reality
By Cecily Michelle
For the majority of my life, I’ve been surrounded by nothing but black and brown faces.
I come from a city where it’s hard to spot a white hue if it’s not draped in a police uniform or posted downtown at a hockey game. So naturally, I grew to love and accept environments where people resemble me. That’s why as a high school senior, there was no question about where I was going to college. If you asked, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that I would be stomping yards and strutting the halls in my finest threads at an HBCU.
But as graduation neared, my plans took an abrupt turn when I realized that my dream school didn’t supply my major, and most importantly, it didn’t offer much financial aid—for me, the ultimate deal-breaker. So instead, I decided to take a scholarship to my community college, which just happened to be predominately black as well. Although not an HBCU, I felt at ease when I saw skin, hair, clothes and faces that reminded me of the people in my neighborhood.
When graduation rolled around, I received another scholarship that promised me a free ride at any public four-year college or university in New Jersey— all Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). From there, any thoughts of attending an HBCU had washed down the drain.
It took awhile, but after making my decision, I was excited about going away to school. Still, I couldn’t shake the knots that had lodged in my stomach—the discomfort that moving outside of my mostly-black world had created. And after the first few weeks of settling in on the chiefly white campus, where most of the kids walking through the halls did not give me that comforting feeling from the neighborhood block, I fell into a serious funk.
All of the things that I had feared about going to a non-black college were coming to fruition. I was outnumbered, I felt like most people hated me, and I couldn’t shake the firm holds of feeling alienated. But as time progressed, those overwhelmingly negative feelings began to fade away, and I started to adjust. I socialized with people, both black and white, who were able to ease my worries and provide some level of comfort. I formulated strong bonds with professors who seemed to genuinely care about my success despite the difference in the tones of our skin. Basically, I got over myself.
Although I wasn’t getting the full experience of an HBCU, I discovered that there were plenty of events, clubs and organizations to make up for it. Black students from near-by campuses came to participate in step shows and showcase their frat’s signature stroll at parties. Student organizations aimed at black unity and empowerment hosted monthly events which provided entertainment that, at times, made me forget that I was surrounded by a race other than my own.
So on May 16, 2012, the day that I said goodbye to my years as a college student, I sat draped in elation. I thought about how rough it was for me in the beginning—how I walked the campus with my head hanging low and how I wanted so badly to transfer to a school where I would have been more at ease, where I basically wouldn’t have to put forth much effort, but just be a black woman around black people. Maybe that’s what made my success at this university so much more sweeter—I was proud that in just a few moments, my name would be called to receive the case to my degree.
That day is now gone, and I’ve since realized—from both my own experience and conversations with other students who felt the same as me—that some of us are so wrapped up in the comfort of our neighborhoods that we forget that the planet is not dipped in black. There are millions of new people, places and things to be explored. And for me, attending a PWI not only helped me to accept racial differences and diversity, but better prepared me for life beyond my neighborhood. I went through some tough times, a few encounters with subtle racism and smart remarks from both peers and professors, but it prepared me for the real world. I learned how to deal with complicated racial environments, how to behave when a person of a different race throws blows intended to evoke anger, and to accept cultural differences in people who don’t look like me. It wasn’t easy, but I survived at a predominantly white college, and it made me stronger.
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University of Pennsylvania professor and author Marybeth Gasman has offered a few suggestions for how Morris Brown College can solve its financial problems in The Washington Post. It was announced last week that the HBCU would be selling pieces of its assets, including its administration building, on September 4. In a bid to prevent a full-on foreclosure and complete auction sale, the school filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. The school is in debt for more than $30 million.
According to its Chapter 11 filing, the school also owes its staffers three months in back pay. In some cases, faculty members and professors are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Many staffers and faculty members are still coming to work despite not being paid and not knowing when they will be.
Gasman highlights four issues that have contributed to the school’s hardships: the African Methodist Episcopal church, which founded and runs the school, needs to pledge fully to its financial and academic revival; revamp the board; rally alumni dollars; and they need to commit to educational innovation if they’re going to compete with the stellar HBCUs, like Morehouse and Spelman, that it’s currently competing with.
She makes some drastic recommendations, such as turning the school into a community college or a charter high school that will feed other universities with students. The schools currently only has a few dozen students enrolled. (Also, back in 2004, radio host Tom Joyner offered to buy the school! Gasman suggests they see if that offer is still on the table.)
We reached out to Morris Brown College for any information about how the school is handling its affairs but haven’t heard back. While it would be sad to see a 131-year-old school shut down, that’s exactly what Gasman also suggests if there isn’t full support for its turnaround. What do you think?
Morris Brown College, founded in 1881 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, is facing foreclosure, and will be auctioning off its assets, including its administration building, on September 4.
Morris Brown has been in dire financial straits for about 10 years, with its student body dwindling from 3,000 to just 50. The latest step towards foreclosure was brought on by the investors’ move to call in $13 million in bonds tied to the school. The school pledged property, like the administration building, to secure the bonds.
“There is the need to raise millions of dollars to counteract that deficit,” Benjamin Harrison, a spokesperson for the Sixth District African Methodist Episcopal Church, which oversees the school, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Morris Brown isn’t accredited, so it’s not eligible for federal funds. In 2003, it lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools under a haze of fraud (the president of the school at the time, Dolores Cross, pleaded guilty to embezzlement) and high debts.
“This is heartbreaking and not only a sad day in the life of Morris Brown, but in black academia,” said former Atlanta City Councilman and alum Derrick Boazman.
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The longtime director of Florida A&M University’s famed marching band announced his retirement Thursday, while a top state official urged the university to keep the band suspended while investigations continue into a drum major’s death.
The band, its future clouded by the beating death of Robert Champion, appeared unlikely to take the field again anytime soon.
Frank Brogan, the chancellor of Florida’s state university system, wrote a blunt letter to FAMU President James Ammons urging him to keep the band suspended. Ammons was expected to discuss the fate of the band at a special meeting of the university board of trustees planned Monday.
Meanwhile, Ammons disclosed more than 100 band members weren’t even enrolled FAMU students at the time of Champion’s death, a new revelation shaking the Marching 100 whose storied history included performing at Super Bowls and inaugural parades.
Solomon Badger, chairman of the FAMU board, said he hopes Ammons would announce he is keeping the suspension intact for the near future.
Get the rest of the story on BlackVoices.com.
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by R. Asmerom
Every year, we hear about the overabundance of lawyers saturating the market, but that doesn’t seem to deter many people from filling out law school applications. Indeed, when the economy gets bad, the laid-off make it their job to apply to grad schools. It doesn’t make total economic sense but few would’ve thunk the recession would last so long. The legal industry has been hard hit, with many of those affected being those recent law school graduates who didn’t go to top ranked schools.
The Bay State Banner points out that the job market is especially bad for HBCU grads. Kenneth J. Cooper reports that in the Dallas market, the Southern Methodist University law school is no longer able to promise its students placement in the top Dallas firms. “Instead of owning the Dallas law market, [SMU graduates were] competing with graduates from the Ivy League schools and some of the Top 15 schools,” recent graduate Ahman Airitam told the Bay State Banner.
Graduates from the top 15 law schools in the country which include Ivy League schools and state schools like UCLA and UC Berkeley are less affected than HBCUs, which rank much lower. For example, Howard University is the top ranked black law school but only ranks #121 in the rankings.
The Bay State Banner also interviewed a recent grad, Julian Hall, of North Carolina Central Law who conveyed the challenges facing his fellow graduates: “I got a friend who works waiting tables. Another friend of mine that went to Carolina, she’s working at the makeup counter — passed the bar and everything, doing makeup. I got another friend that is a bartender. So it’s bad out here.”
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As if Lady O weren’t busy enough on the “unofficial” campaign trail, hitting all of the late night talk show circuit, now she’s adding commencement speeches to her itinerary. The first lady is scheduled to speak at three graduation ceremonies this year, including one HBCU.
She’ll speak at Virginia Tech University, Oregon State University and North Carolina A&T. The schools may seem unrelated but the decision to speak at each of these institutions was not made lightly. Both Virginia and North Carolina are crucial in the reelection of her husband, President Barack Obama.
And Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, serves as the head coach for the school’s basketball team. Nothing wrong with showing a little love to the school that writes your brother’s checks.
Are any of you graduating from or attending graduations from one of these institutions?
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It’s so good to be black! In promoting their latest film, “Red Tails,” Elijah Kelly and Tristan Wilds swung by Tuskegee University. Instead of just participating in a mildly engaging question and answer session for an hour, the cast members joined some of the students on the yard for a “wobbling” session. Fun and good times ensued. If you’ve never wobbled, check the video, learn the dance and request it from the DJ at the next house party you attend.
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Can you imagine an historic black college with as many non-black students as African-Americans? Thanks to a barrage of recent financial problems, that perplexing thought is not out the realm of possibility. Southern University, a prominent black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saw its fall enrollment drop below 7,000 students this season, a decrease of roughly 5 percent from last year.
Conversely, area public colleges Louisiana State (LSU), UL-Lafayette and Southeastern enjoyed modest enrollment gains. Unfortunately, Southern isn’t alone.
Other Historically Black Colleges and Universities are suffering a similar decline. Now the million dollar question: Why the rapid decline in enrollment?
Are blacks turned off by HBCUs?
Are admission standards too strict?
Does the economy play a factor?
Are junior colleges viewed as being a more viable financial option?
Chancellor James Llorens points the finger of blame at a new registration process and financial aid policy that delays cash disbursements; preventing students from satisfying their debts.
“We lost some students just out of frustration,” said Llorens, who vowed the school will make every attempt to bring the students back to the university.
Keep in mind; tuition at HBCUs cost an average of $10,000 less per year than their predominant white counterparts.
According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes as 3.7 million or 14.7 percent of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes. In addition:
-African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites
-25 percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have diabetes.
-1 in 4 African American women over 55 years of age has diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (the Association) is a not-for-profit voluntary health agency that works to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. In October 1994, the Association’s Board of Directors established the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation), as a subsidiary of the Association. The objective of the Foundation is to fund diabetes-related research leading to the prevention and cure of diabetes, the prevention and cure of the complications of diabetes, and new and improved therapies for individuals affected by diabetes.
Get this, the Foundation is exempt from income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and charitable contributions to the Foundation qualify for charitable tax deductions as described in the code. The Foundation has been classified as an organization that is not a private foundation under Section 509(a) of the code. Even though they appear to have a bias against HBCU’s and black researchers. More on this later…
Research grants awarded by the Foundation generally extend over a period of one to three years, subject to renewal on an annual basis.
Upon investigation and review of the financial reports and records, this writer has found that Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been totally left out of the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, Inc ward process as selected grantees.
Compared to the general population, African American researchers and HBCU’s are not receiving grant research dollars from the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation.
As an example, the Foundation provided over $33 million in research grants in 2010 without one gong to a HBCU. If one looks at their annual reports for ADA 2009 Research Foundation Financials and 2009 IRS Form 990 you will see the same challenge in the 2008 IRS Form 990, (check out the grantee database for information on ADA-funded research grant awardees), 2007 IRS Form 990 and 2006 IRS Form 990, no black awardees, no HBCU’s researchers
In other words the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, Inc has not awarded not one research grant to HBCUs, even with the high incidence of black Americans with diabetes.
It is clear to this writer that the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation is saying that it has no interest in developing a strong research relationship with HBCU’s in relationship to issues of research related to the prevention and cure of diabetes, the prevention and cure of the complications of diabetes, and the development of new and improved therapies for individuals affected by diabetes.”
Although the ADA Research Foundation asks Americans to make a donation to the American Diabetes Association to help fund leading-edge research that affects the health and well-being of millions of people living with diabetes. It’s clear that funds are being awarded to friends and pals of the Board of ADA, and HBCU’s are being left out of the grant awards.
This should be no surprise though. Rob Stein over at The Washington Post just reported on how Black scientists are significantly less likely than white researchers to win grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to an audit released Thursday that confirmed disturbing suspicions inside the agency about a lingering bias against African Americans.
Who said education is the great equalizer? When it comes to color aroused bigotry, it makes no difference if it’s NIH or the American Diabetes Association Foundation, color continues to play a factor in the way we address research of diseases in this country, particularly as it relates to African Americans.
It’s too bad for America, too bad for those with diabetes, and too bad for HBCU’s and black researchers.
L. N. Rock is a management consultant, Democratic strategist, and 2008 credentialed blogger at the Democratic National Convention. He blogs at African American Pundit