Policy

​Trump Signs Executive Order on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Feb 28, 2017

TRUMP SIGNS HBCU EXECUTIVE ORDER: President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to move an initiative on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) from the purview of Department of Education to the White House. According to the Washington Post, the order “directs the initiative to work with the private sector… provide job opportunities for students, work with secondary schools to create a college pipeline and increase access and opportunity for federal grants and contracts.”

Presidents from dozens of HBCUs visited Trump at the Oval Office on Monday before the order was officially signed. During that time college presidents asked the administration for $25 billion in infrastructure funding, year-round Pell grants, and for increases or maintenance of Title III dollars, which “is intended to improve academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability,” according to POLITICO. The final order, however, did not include any proposals for increasing federal support for the schools.

Some presidents still left with a feeling of hope about the new administration’s efforts, like United Negro College Fund president and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax. In a prepared statement Lomax said, “Today’s meeting was an important first step toward building a working relationship between the administration, UNCF, and America’s HBCUs.” However, the meeting was not without controversy and criticism. In a blog post on Medium, Dillard president Walter M. Kimbrough wrote that the presidents “were only given about 2 minutes each, and that was cut to one minute, so only about 7 of maybe 15 or so speakers were given an opportunity” to speak.

Prior to the White House gathering, the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to the president on Monday that “this meeting is not a photo op,” POLITICO reports. Yet shortly after some photos did surface, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released a statement comparing HBCUs to school choice. “HBCUs are the real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.” She immediately went under fire for the statement, which fails to acknowledge that HBCUs were a result of Jim Crow-era admittance policies that barred many black Americans from attending other universities.

“HBCUs weren’t “more options” for black students—for many years, they were the ONLY option,” Congresswoman Barbara Lee tweeted on Tuesday. According to the Guardian, Michigan congressman John Conyers released the following statement: “Yesterday’s attempt to whitewash the stain of segregation into an argument for privatizing our public schools is perhaps a new low in her current position.”

Policy

​Trump Signs Executive Order on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Feb 28, 2017

TRUMP SIGNS HBCU EXECUTIVE ORDER: President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to move an initiative on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) from the purview of Department of Education to the White House. According to the Washington Post, the order “directs the initiative to work with the private sector… provide job opportunities for students, work with secondary schools to create a college pipeline and increase access and opportunity for federal grants and contracts.”

Presidents from dozens of HBCUs visited Trump at the Oval Office on Monday before the order was officially signed. During that time college presidents asked the administration for $25 billion in infrastructure funding, year-round Pell grants, and for increases or maintenance of Title III dollars, which “is intended to improve academic quality, institutional management and fiscal stability,” according to POLITICO. The final order, however, did not include any proposals for increasing federal support for the schools.

Some presidents still left with a feeling of hope about the new administration’s efforts, like United Negro College Fund president and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax. In a prepared statement Lomax said, “Today’s meeting was an important first step toward building a working relationship between the administration, UNCF, and America’s HBCUs.” However, the meeting was not without controversy and criticism. In a blog post on Medium, Dillard president Walter M. Kimbrough wrote that the presidents “were only given about 2 minutes each, and that was cut to one minute, so only about 7 of maybe 15 or so speakers were given an opportunity” to speak.

Prior to the White House gathering, the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to the president on Monday that “this meeting is not a photo op,” POLITICO reports. Yet shortly after some photos did surface, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released a statement comparing HBCUs to school choice. “HBCUs are the real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.” She immediately went under fire for the statement, which fails to acknowledge that HBCUs were a result of Jim Crow-era admittance policies that barred many black Americans from attending other universities.

“HBCUs weren’t “more options” for black students—for many years, they were the ONLY option,” Congresswoman Barbara Lee tweeted on Tuesday. According to the Guardian, Michigan congressman John Conyers released the following statement: “Yesterday’s attempt to whitewash the stain of segregation into an argument for privatizing our public schools is perhaps a new low in her current position.”

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