Seven of the Nation’s Worst States for HBCU Support
Tracking the records on outcomes for public HBCUs.
Tracking the records on outcomes for public HBCUs.
Alabama Political Reporter Josh Moon has written this week about a recent inquiry from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges into the governance structure of higher education in the state of Alabama.
Moon reports that Governor Robert Bentley may be jeopardizing accreditation for a number of schools and the state’s community college system by serving as both appointing authority for university boards and as a member of the same.
Several states do this, but what likely prompted the SACSCOC inquiry and the request for state lawmakers to change its rules on college governance, is Bentley’s habit of interfering with or benefiting from certain industrial elements of higher education.
Bentley has been at the center of several financial-related scandals tied to higher education. In another Reporter piece, Moon writes about the ‘white privilege’ enjoyed by Alabama’s predominantly white institutions and the rich white guys who run and govern them.
This week, APR’s Bill Britt broke a story about one of the Governor’s cabinet members continuing to receive a salary from the University of Alabama. Joanne Hale, who worked as a university professor, is still receiving a salary and benefits from UA despite serving on Bentley’s staff.
A few years ago, UA’s new president, Judy Bonner, with the trustees’ blessing, hired her brother, Jo, to a made-up gig paying him $350,000 annually. Jo Bonner’s resignation from the legislature to take the job also left State taxpayers on the hook for about $2 million for the special election to fill the seat.
But the kicker comes later in the column, when Moon juxtaposes years of fraudulent activity at the state’s PWIs without reaction from Bentley, but his eagerness to pounce on Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University for alleged grievances.
At A&M, Bentley sent letters demanding more information about whether the president paid taxes on a $3,000 per month housing stipend and whether the president’s chief of staff was improperly reimbursed for moving expenses.
At ASU, Bentley initiated a forensic investigation that has crippled the university, yet in more than four years has failed to produce even an allegation of a misdemeanor crime.
And this is on the heels of regional media exposing how the University of Alabama System has served as a political super PAC for Bentley and other lawmakers in the state.
How the University of Alabama System funneled $1.4 million through a 'dark money' web
The Alabama Association For Higher Education might be the most powerful force in Alabama politics that no one has ever…www.al.com
It’s easy to think — “it’s Alabama; is anyone down there even paying attention? And if they are, would they ever be willing to do something about it?”
The same could be said for almost every governor. And with states where HBCUs are stationed, the case for accountability has to be even higher because of the political chokehold maintained by conservative majorities and rich histories of adversarial relationships with black colleges.
Here’s a list of six other states and their most recent records on legislation, funding and development of historically black colleges.
6. South Carolina
Two years ago, legislators in South Carolina threatened to close its flagship black college due to financial instability and leadership turnover. Today, enrollment is up (by about 60 students from the fall and more than 500 away from terminating faculty and staff furloughs) the school is still fighting for facility upgrades and programmatic development that are more than a decade overdue.
The Sunshine State is set to roll through new legislation that will strengthen its performance-based funding system which while promoted as a way to increase access could indirectly punish Florida A&M for its access mission, and to take advantage of its culture of constant flux in leadership. Another state with a performance-based funding system and new rules on presidential appointments, FAMU could face a number of wars on leadership, enrollment and funding fronts — while leaders from PWIs cheer them on.
Tennessee is a national leader in the concept of free community college, an initiative which has already cut deep into prospects for the state’s HBCUs, but specifically admission and graduation outcomes for Tennessee State University. With the state establishing a new board governance structure, pressuring TSU to raise its admissions standards and cutting back TSU’s funding through its performance-based funding model, Big Blue could face big trouble in the next few years.
While the state has not yet eliminated an HBCU, the new Albany State University is reeling from a 20 percent drop in enrollment from last year, and Savannah State University will soon feel a similar pain from the University System of Georgia’s latest merger between Georgia State University and SSU’s nearest competitor, Armstrong State University — which has already secured millions in new funding for new development.
Editor's Note: Armstrong/Georgia Southern merger brings fear, and many questions
ON WEDNESDAY of this week, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia will almost certainly vote in favor…www.connectsavannah.com
Louisiana is home to some of the most prolific cuts to higher education in the country over the last decade, inclusive of cuts to its student scholarship program. The Southern University System and Grambling State University have had seismic issues with governance, leadership turnover, athletics compliance and enrollment — all signs of just how significant divestment in the schools has been over a sustained period.
Louisiana colleges and universities bracing for cuts, shift of costs to students
Public colleges and universities are bracing for yet another cut to their budgets when legislators meet Friday to…www.theadvocate.com
1. North Carolina
Legislation — Senate Bill 873 all but closed Elizabeth City State University and marginalized Fayetteville State and Winston-Salem State in the process. The state also has a terrible record on executive searches for chancellorship vacancies, funding to HBCUs, and efforts to bolster community college access which jeopardizes HBCU attendance.