President Trump met with various Historically Black College and University leaders this past week, which was seen as a smart political move for the administration. However, things did not go as well as Trump would have hoped. While the major problem coming from the administration’s meeting surrounded Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who claimed HBCU offered a great choice to black people, she was not the main issue.
By the way, the reason for the rise of these schools was that there wasn’t a choice for black men and women, and these schools became a big deal for those seeking an education outside of high school. It is interesting our Education Secretary didn’t know this. However, she may have made a speech that she should not have, yet the entire meeting was a bit odd for may.
This past Wednesday, Morehouse College President John Wilson Jr. shared his thoughts about the White House’s approach to all historically black colleges and universities. This open letter on the school’s website that he wrote shared a lot of interesting information regarding things. Wilson, like many, wanted to meet with Trump because there was hope that dialog could be created that would hopefully help the various HBCUs in the country.
He claimed that most of the 104 HBCU Presidents attended this past wee in the meeting with the President of the United States. All were invited to take part in a discussion alongside their peers with President Trump, and seeing many take part in the meeting was terrific. There were high hopes for increased funding, but Wilson said that…
“the key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House. It is not possible to measure the impact of this gesture anytime soon, if ever.”
According to PBS, Trump’s new executive order does not indicate federal funding levels, but did focus on components like infrastructure improvements and even jobs for students, along with private sector support. This is a good direction to help HBCUs a good deal, however, more federal funding to compare to other major universities even around them would be of vast importance even still.
Wilson is not exactly happy with Betsy DeVos over her speech linking the HBCUs with school choice, claiming she “struck a discordant note.” When people heard of her comments, Americans across the nation were notably discouraged by them. Many people know the story of these schools and why they started to begin with, so whether or not Secretary DeVos meant what she said in the way it was presented due to lack of knowledge, or if she misspoke, is unknown.
Wilson did end up saying that he has hopes for the Education Secretary when referring to her speech he claimed that what she said was as follows.
“[That] does not mean she should be diminished or dismissed… I get the strong sense that she wants to get this job right.”
While the Morehouse President did seem to have hopes for the meeting, he did not seem to leave with what he hoped. He summed up the meeting with President Trump by claiming as follows.
“In general, the meetings were a troubling beginning to what must be a productive relationship.”
Wilson is correct in his words. Schools need help by the federal government across the board, and a good understanding of those needs is essential. This is especially true for Historically Black Colleges and Universities because they often get overlooked when talking about schools. This might be due to some being private over public, while others happen to be located near other major universities and end up seeing them get more help.
John Wilson Jr. is a key figure in this conversation and the fact that he as well as several other HBCU leaders joined President Trump despite the differences they may have had with him before, is a big deal. It shows that despite those differences, they want these schools to succeed and are willing to work with President Trump as well as hold him accountable to the help he is willing to provide.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais]