HBCUs in Need of Assistance!

Dear Commons Community,

Richard D. Legon, president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and Alvin J. Schexnider, former chancellor at Winston-Salem State University, have an opinion piece in today’s online edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, focusing on the current plight of many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).   They specifically identify a number of issues that are pushing many of these institutions “to the brink.”  They identify a number of reasons for this state of affairs including:

  • Declining enrollment
  • Underperforming institutional and board leadership
  • Sharp reductions in state funding
  • Obsolete business models
  • Uncertain federal funding
  • A dearth of future leadership talent
  • Inadequate financial support from alumni
  • Intercollegiate athletics scandals

Legon and Schexnider specifically expand on the following:

“It is clear that state disinvestment in public higher education has had a more significant impact on HBCUs than on other public colleges and universities. It is also clear (and perhaps counterintuitive) that enrollment declines among these institutions are in part driven by their own historic success and societal progress. But outmoded business models, antiquated implementation of technology in administrative processes and academic-program delivery, and difficulties in recruiting and retaining talented faculty are putting some of our most important institutions at the greatest risk.”

They conclude:

“Black colleges and universities, despite their challenges, are indispensable to shaping and contributing to our nation’s potential. HBCUs deserve to thrive and not simply survive. Regrettably, some may be at heightened risk, but where possible we must make every effort to help those that seek meaningful change to chart a new path toward sustainability. We can do no less to honor the women and men who established these institutions. And we must do more to preserve opportunities for future generation.”

  1. The HBCUs deserve better and it would be helpful if the states and President Trump as he promised during his election campaigning, step up and do something for these venerable institutions.



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