For a while now, the relevance of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) has been called into question. But with the recent news that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to explore the possibility of merging two neighboring New Orleans universities, the historically black Southern University of New Orleans with the predominantly white University of New Orleans, the future of HBCUs becomes even more troublesome.
Jindal is calling for the merger to be considered in a streamlining study due March 1 by the Board of Regents. According to Jindal, the two universities have been struggling to fill classrooms and graduate students, so the merger would be a vehicle to raise graduation rates. Currently, SUNO has a 5% graduation rate while UNO has a slightly better graduation rate of 22%. Two-thirds in the state House and Senate would have to favor consolidation for the merger to occur.
Of course, this proposal has caused a political circus.
Does the mainstream news media engage in racial profiling- that is, defining a social problem in America as a minority problem and in particular, a “black” problem? Some commentators would likely state that the “fair and balanced” mainstream media does not engage in such behavior. Conversely, a plethora of political pundits wholeheartedly believe that crime, drugs, welfare, and poverty are only encapsulated in “blackness” as opposed to the larger American society. Over and over, documented research continues to attest to the racial bias in news coverage. And, one particular issue that was recently highlighted as a “black” problem occurred on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel- the topic of hazing at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Upon watching this recent episode, one would reason that hazing is a ritualized process that is solely confined to the campuses of HBCUs. Would this be a factual assumption? Absolutely not! Read the rest at The Altanta Post.
Plus watch an excerpt of the Real Sports episode below.
Actor Idris Elba accompanied 21 students from historically Black colleges on a trip to South Africa during the country’s historic hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
The undergrads, winners of the Coca Cola “Open Happiness Tour” video competition, spent their trip visiting historic sites and even taking in a World Cup game. They also worked with young students at a grade school in Soweto, where the students promised to help the children build a library.
“This was a life changing and moving experience for me. I’ve been to Africa a couple of times since my father was from Ghana and mother from Sierra Leone but this has to be the most moving and powerful trips I’ve ever had,” said Elba. “Watching the students grow in awareness and seeing how much we take for granted was a wakeup call and an honor for me to be a part of their experience. Thanks to Coca-Cola we now have twenty one new leaders who will make a difference in our world”
According to Coca Cola, the students won the trip after participating in a video competition that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you? The Coca-Cola RAIN “Water for Schools” initiative helps provide safe drinking water for schoolchildren in Africa and around the world.
Pictured with Actor Idris Elba are Student Winners: Funbi Oluwole, Clark Atlanta University; Alisa Routh & Justin Smith, Florida A&M University; Tatiana Mosley & Junious Smith III, Fayetteville State University; Jasmine Singleton & Graylin Taylor, Ft. Valley State University; Jelyse Dawson & Derrill Miller, Grambling State University; Lael Clark & Tremone Jackson, Johnson C. Smith University, Stephen Love, Morehouse College; Ashley Canty & Victor Pimentel, Norfolk State University; Edifon Ette & Sherron Douglas, Southern University; Karen Evans, Spelman College, Cherish Rush & Ryan Small, Texas Southern, Theresa Scales & Steve Morgan, Jr., Xavier University.
Administration officials are hoping the funding will stave off criticism from black college presidents and alumni, who complained last year the administration’s decision not to pursue renewing a George W. Bush-era HBCU funding program actually resulted in a budget cut to the cash-strapped schools.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, appearing Sunday on TV One’s “Washington Watch with Roland Martin,” announced Obama’s intention ahead of the White House’s official rollout of its estimated $3.8 trillion budget proposal.
“We have great news, that, going forward, we’re proposing in the budget an increase of $98 million annually for HBCUs, so that’s a tremendous commitment,” Duncan said in response to a question from Martin. “I said from Day One we desperately need HBCUs not just to survive, but to thrive.”
In addition, Duncan said the administration is seeking increases in Pell grants – with an eye towards doubling Pell opportunities for HBCU students – Perkins Loans and tuition tax credits.
A controversial graduation requirement from Lincoln University mandating all overweight students to take a health and fitness course is causing a serious debate between students, health officials and legal scholars.
Lincoln University, a historically Black university near Philadelphia, requires students who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 30 to take the health and fitness course which consists of aerobics, weight training and nutrition.
BMI is a measurement health officials use to determine obesity.
It is believed Lincoln University is the only is school in the nation to require overweight students to take a health class.
The Tavis Smiley Communication School at Texas Southern University (TSU) will be renamed as school’s governing board voted to cut ties with the author and journalist for not delivering on his pledge to raise $2 million for the historically Black college.
According to theHouston Chronicle, Smiley agreed in 2004 to personally donate $200,000 annually for a period of five years as well as raise $1 million through private and corporate donations.
TSU officials said Smiley raised $300,000.
Smiley said concerns with the school’s fiscal management after its previous president was fired and sentenced to probation for improper usage of school funds, made it difficult to raise funds for the institution.
“I … will continue with my benevolence where it’s appreciated,” said Smiley in an email to TSU officials.
The Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) pulled no punches when he met with a group of education officials.
John Wilson said in order for HBCUs to survive and compete for African-American students, the institutions have to stop whining about what they do not have and instead come up with innovative ways to raise money and recruit students.
HBCUs must stop feeling sorry for themselves, he said, and switch their focus from playing violins to trumpets.
“We play the violin too much,” Wilson said. “We think people owe us something.”
Many HBCUs are facing financial difficulty due to declining enrollment and increasing costs. The recession has also tightened the wallets of businesses and charities that typically donate and support HBCUs.
Wilson also called out HBCU alumni who “will go to Homecoming” but refuse to give back to their alma mater.
A lot of that is a failure of the colleges to treat their students and alumni well, he said.
“If they (students) have built up an attitude with the financial aid office, which had an attitude with them, they’re going to leave here with an attitude and they’re not going to write a check,” Wilson said. “They’re going to come back for Homecoming, but they’re not going to open their checkbooks.”
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