Tuesday, October 26, 2021

More Evidence of Ole Obama’s Hostility Toward HBCU’s.

February 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Education, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) As if we needed any more evidence, President Obama’s recent meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed a deep-seated hostility toward the plight of struggling Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

According to Lauren Victoria Burke’s Black Caucus blog, CrewOf42.com, “President Obama was critical of Historically Black Colleges and Universities during a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus this week according to several in attendance. The February 10 meeting was the first group gathering with the Black Caucus and the President since June 2013.”

It continued, “Several who attended the meeting indicated that President Obama felt that the focus of HBCU’s needs to be on the schools changing their ways of doing business rather [than] on changes in federal policy. Those who attended said he was specifically critical of graduation rates and loan policies. The President also spoke to CBC members on his free community college plan which some HBCU advocates believe will hurt HBCUs.”hbcu-hands-2014

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, told Burke, “He [Obama] said there were some HBCUs that were not good at graduating students and if they did not improve they’d have to go by the wayside. In other words he didn’t show much empathy for struggling HBCUs. It was like show me the numbers and if the numbers aren’t where they need to be, that’s it. It was a somewhat callous view of the unique niche HBCUs fill.”

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said, “I was concerned about what the President said because it feeds into a narrative about the value of these institutions and whether they are [equipped] to educate our students and what the cost is for doing so.

“Many of these institutions have not had a maintenance of effort on the part of states or the federal government and over time that wears on their ability to maintain standards or even advance beyond a certain level. It was very clear that he doesn’t have the same level of appreciation for what these institutions have done and could do in the future given the right support systems.”

The blog quoted Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), a graduate of South Carolina State University: “it’s for-profit schools where the graduation rate problem is – not HBCUs, the Parent PLUS loan stuff has to do with new rules on credit worthiness and I just think that in the discussion he mangled it.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a product of two HBCUs – Tougaloo College and Jackson State University – was quoted: “What we ought to be talking about is: If there are weaknesses at certain HBCUs what do we do to strengthen those institutions?”

Meanwhile, Hampton University President William R. Harvey, who has been chair of the White House Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities since 2010, was highly critical of Obama’s approach to HBCUs.

In a speech at a meeting at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. on Feb. 4, Harvey said, “I have to say that one of my biggest concerns or regrets is that we are not being used as the advisory board we are supposed to be. All this expertise – more than 150 years at the helm of HBCUs, decades as the heads of major philanthropic organizations, expertise in business, in fundraising and in public relations, connections on Wall Street, in the Ivy League and everywhere else. Yet, we are not consulted when it comes to policy changes and decisions impacting – in a major way – the institutions on whose behalf we are to advocate.

“It happened with Pell. It happened with Parent Plus. And, now it is happening with the new community college initiative.”

Harvey was also critical of Obama’s proposed college rating system and his plan to fund the first two years of education at community colleges.

“Many of my colleagues have called me to say that the ‘free tuition for public community college’ initiative could also be a death knell for many of our institutions…” Harvey said.

Judging by Harvey’s comments, many of the debacles could have been avoided if the White House had sought the advice of HBCU experts it had recruited as advisers.

An even stronger indictment was Harvey’s summary of what has happened to HBCUs under the nation’s first Black president.

He stated. “While we don’t know a lot, because a lot is not shared, we do know that federal support for HBCUs is showing an alarming downward trend. Over the last several years, all of the major Title IV programs had modifications and adjustments which make it much harder for HBCUs to get funding. We all know of the Parent PLUS debacle. These loans to our students are down. Pell grants to students at HBCUs are down. Direct loans to our students are down. Graduate subsidies have been eliminated. In addition to student support, overall support to Black colleges is down.”

That’s not a compliment for a president who says he wants to increase educational opportunities for all Americans.

Written By George E. Curry

Official website; http://twitter.com/currygeorge


3 Responses to “More Evidence of Ole Obama’s Hostility Toward HBCU’s.”
  1. James Davis says:

    It is a shame before God and man that this is happening, as you have stated it!

    For more years than I can count in good and bad times, HBCU’s stayed at the task of continually turning out highly educated young black men and women who became the thorns in sides of racists. The HBCU’s provided the first wave of black college graduates to businesses when affirmative action was the first initiative in an attempt to rectify decades of racial discrimination. Many whites were “taken back” by the intelligence and demeanor of black college graduates. It was HBCU’s who continued to bridge the gap as public schools desegregated and racist teachers did a poor job of educating blacks. We in the black community who are wise know that this is not a colorless society, and we will continue to need HBCU’s. We will need them to stay at the tasks of building and providing within the sphere of education that which is uniquely needed by the black community. You see, we have yet to cross the desert of business creation in competitive numbers. HBCU’s will no doubt be needed to play a major role in the transformation of blacks from a consumer society to owners of production in their own right. Blacks people will call upon these institutions because of their unique relationship with them to provide what educational tools they will need to compete in the endeavor of becoming power brokers at the table of life.


  2. Steve says:

    This article is much ado about nothing. The President should be just as critical about the HBCU’s as he’s been about many state-funded schools that deny their need for affirmative action programs as well as private trade universities that prey on poor people and minorities. Like Marque-Anthony said we cannot have it both ways. President Obama is not Moses nor is he our pastor. He’s the President of the United States of America of which we are a part of. That he’s upholding HBCU’s to an equitable standard is not a slap in the face, it’s having the guts to be honest.

  3. Marque-Anthony says:

    You guys need to quit. Our people are saying President Obama is hostile towards HBCUs, but the fact is that critical analysis that needs to be said is not hostility. Placing something under a microscope that needs to be examined, dissected and evaluated is not hostility. I think many people are expecting the President to be all gung ho about whatever supports “blacks”. But his job requires that he represent ALL people, not just us. And yes I am an African-American man critical of President Obama but fair in my assessment.

    The Republicans like Hannity are slamming the President for not starting wars, bullying other countries and using discretion instead of offending entire religions. Then here come our people critical of the President when he does not ignore everybody else and push the African-American agenda.

    All of you need to grow up and let that man do his job. He has done things both good and bad. He is a man, not a king. And I get the impression that many of you wanted a savior who would support all your causes. That’s not the way it works and as a writer and professional public speaker, I am always having to remind African-Americans and Caucasians of just that.

    I think many of you are never satisfied and you expect things of the President that a President cannot do, cannot say or cannot promote. Interesting fact: Morris Brown was the only 1 of the 4 HBCUs started by us for us in the Atlanta University Center and OUR PEOPLE RAN IT IN THE GROUND. OUR PEOPLE. Maybe Morris Brown should have been more under the microscope.

    We need to be harder on our own, like it or not. The President is not an African-American genie, a black Santa Claus or a magical, mystical Warlock. PRESIDENT OBAMA DOES NOT JUST WORK FOR YOU SO GROW UP GUYS.