Protest culture grows within, outside of black campuses
- TIME magazine profiles the growing culture of student protests at historically black colleges, which have taken on topics ranging from homeless and hunger in campus communities to demands for administrative change on campus.
- Students at Howard University, Spelman College and Hampton University have earned headlines for their activism, which has often caused dissension with campus leaders but is the latest in a long history of student social engagement with roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
- Today's protests call for executive accountability on subjects like economic equality, sexual assault prevention and college affordability, accord to the TIME article. But they contrast a stark reality of campuses facing significant challenges in finance and how they complement growing discontent with the Trump administration and its missteps in engaging and setting policy for the sector.
HBCUs are designed by mission to counter social inequity and disparity. Policy guiding their financial stability, specifically programs like the HBCU Capital Financing program and Pell Grant access, are also programs that promote diversity in workforce development and closing racial wealth gaps through some of the nation's most vulnerable regions. They help HBCUs attract more students, creating more tuition revenues and economic strength for campuses in desperate need of the same. If federal and state governments take ownership of these issues, they could significantly reduce much of the student angst against these disparities.
Instead, public systems are responding with efforts to contract or consolidate HBCUs, which many HBCU supporters interpret as an effort to marginalize these missions. Examples include Pennsylvania's recent recommendations to consolidate Cheyney University, the nation's oldest historically black campus, with nearby predominantly white institution West Chester University. Georgia's Albany State University was consolidated with predominantly white Darton State College in 2017; both of these institutions faced criticism for enrollment declines and low prospects for growth in areas that are losing population as justification for the changes.
Changing or limiting the scope of HBCUs may limit their ability to address social concerns in their campus communities. As long as these colleges and universities continue to face institutional challenges, students will likely grow in their impatience with campus leaders and opposition to social injustices real and perceived both within and beyond their borders.
- TIME Magazine A new era of protest is energizing Historically Black Colleges and Universities. But there are challenges
- Education Dive Report recommends mergers for Pennsylvania public colleges
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution Regents approve Albany State, Darton State merger