Moving North Carolina’s HBCUs From the Back of the Bus to the Front

By | June 4, 2014

Here’s a little known fact: if you are trying to reduce your state’s higher education appropriations, and you immediately look to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in your state as places to cut or eliminate, that’s the definition of systemic racism.

On May 29, 2014, the North Carolina senate debated a plan that would require the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina System to study “the feasibility of dissolving any constituent institution whose fall full-time equivalent student enrollment declined by more than twenty percent (20%) between the 2010-2011 fiscal year and the 2013-2014 fiscal year” and to develop a plan for its dissolution. One of the state’s HBCUs ? Elizabeth City State University ? was on the potential chopping block due to recent drops in enrollment until May 30 when the Senate changed its mind due to outrage.

This proposal was the latest effort by Republican leaders to cut costs across the UNC system. In 2013, Governor Pat McCrory suggested merging or closing HBCU campuses as well as eliminating academic programs to cut spending in the state. McCrory angered HBCU leaders and alumni who worried that this talk was the beginning of a slippery slope ending in the closing of North Carolina’s HBCUs ? institutions that have disproportionately educated low-income and often underprepared students. (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)

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