Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Your Black Politics: Did Obama REALLY Cut HBCU Funding?

by Kim Lampkins

When it comes to President Obama 'cutting' funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) ... Oh NO, he DIDN'T!


Contrary to the internet chatter stating otherwise, the Obama administration education budget DOES NOT cut funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

North Carolina A&T

An AP headline and story sparked outrage last week with accusations that President Obama had "turned his back on black college students." The writer says Obama 'cut' budgets, when in fact the Obama administration increases funds to HBCU's.


The blogosphere has been absolutely rabid with criticism of President Obama's proposed education budget, and what's been described as a "cut" in funds to over a 100 of the nation's federally recognized HBCU'S--Historically Black Colleges and Universities. At issue, a temporary 2-year grant created by Congress in 2007 to supplement the already existing Title III provisions. On the issue, the shouts of "hold the President accountable" are ricocheting throughout cyberspace! On this issue,my voice is not part of the chorus.
** Title III: The program helps eligible institutions of higher learning to become self-sufficient and expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions.
**In 2007 Congress passed sweeping legislation to make college more affordable for students across the nation, via the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. (CCRAA) As part of this landmark piece of legislation 170-million dollars (85-million each for fiscal years 2008 and 2009) was targeted for 105 HBCU's via Title III. The funds were part of an overall 510-million dollars included in an over 18-BILLION dollar piece of legislation. Hispanic, Native American and other minorities institutions also benefited from this 510-million dollar provision to help offset years of underfunding.
Fast forward:
When the Obama Administration's Fiscal Year 2010 budget was released last week, many were dismayed that this 2-year supplemental grant--85-million dollars each year--was not extended beyond its expiration date. Many, in my viewmischaracterized this as a budget 'cut'. It was, in my view, mischaracterized as a sign of President Obama's indifference to Black college students and HBCU's. I didn't buy it!
In an effort to find out how HBCU officials were interpreting the news, I spoke with a Title III Administrator at an HBCU in the northeastern U.S. This official acknowledged that he, "never expected to receive the extra funds past the 2009 expiration date." He said, "It was understood that they were temporary grants for 2008 and 2009."
He was however, concerned that the budgetproposal submitted by President Bush in June of 2008 did NOT include the extra funds, but had actually cut traditional discretionary funding by 85-million dollars, while using the temporary Congressionally mandated grant funds to make up the difference. He was concerned about how that proposed cut would pan out beyond 2009.
Our conversation took place Tuesday (5/19) before he saw the actual numbers in the Obama administration education budget; however he learned the answers today (Thursday 5/21) after receiving and reviewing the budget.
Via email this HBCU official writes: "I just reviewed a copy of President Obama’s budget request for the Department of Education. In that request, President Obama is recommending $296,595,000 for the HBCU and HBGI (Historically Black Graduate Institutions) programs and an additional $85,000,000 for the CCRAA in fiscal year 2009 that begins on October 1, 2009.

As I indicated previously, it was understood that the CCRAA grant is a two year grant, the first award received in Fiscal Year 2008.

President Obama’s budget for FY 2010 shows increases in the appropriations for HBCU ($250,000,000) and HBGI ($61,425,000); together, this request represents a $20,830,000 increase in the appropriation over the preceding year.

How can this be interpreted as not supporting Black Colleges? Someone is sorely misinformed about the President’s support. What President Obama has initiated, so far, indicates more than ever that he supports Black Colleges."
End of email

Still, there is a move a afoot on Capitol Hill by UNCF officials and others to have the temporary grant made permanent. Requests have been made to House and Senate Approriations Committees for a line item increase in the budget. UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax states, "I'm confident that if the request is made, President Obama will not reject it."

I close with this: I understand the calls to hold the President accountable, we should absolutely hold all of our elected officials accountable. But WHO was holding then President Bush accountable when HE proposed to decrease the HBCU's budget and make up the difference with funds from the Congressionally mandated College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA)? That budget proposal basically amounted to a proposed misuse of funds. IMHO


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins Comments on College Student Behavior

Dr Boyce Watkins


While we might want to get on Morehouse College for the recent shooting incident, one has to clearly understand that Morehouse is not the only university with its share of dirt on campus.  Harvard University is now in the middle of it’s own violent incident, in which a student was shot and killed in a Harvard dorm.  The victim, who is not a Harvard University student, sold drugs to Harvard University students.

According to Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone: "The common denominator between the Harvard students, the suspect and man who is dead, the common denominator was drugs and money."

This incident is a reminder that, no matter what campus you’re on, student behavior can be out of control.  The culture of drugs, alcohol and other ridiculous behavior should not be considered a fundamental part of the college experience.  The book “Smashed” chronicles the life of a former Syracuse University student, as she spent 4 years drinking herself into poor health.  There is also the Duke University rape scandal from 3 years ago, in which everyone wondered if a woman was raped, but no one wondered why there were 19 year olds having drunken stripper parties.

I try to explain to students in my book, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about College”, that college should be a lot of fun.  But students should be encouraged to be responsible, and not let off the hook for every stupid thing they do.  I have friends in law enforcement who express frustration that students arrested for drunk driving are protected by their parents and not held accountable for their actions.  I also find myself irritated by the rapper Asher Roth, who wrote a song “I Love College”, in which he describes college as a place for drinking, partying and irresponsible sex.  The rapper Roth describes his perspective clearly with the lyrics, “Drink my beer and smoke my weed….Pass out at 3, wake up at 10, go out to eat and do it again.”  Don’t get me wrong: sex can be great, and so can other forms of leisure activity (I’m not here to judge or put myself on a pedestal).  But we are doing our young people no favors by presuming that excessive sexual promiscuity, experimenting with drugs and binge drinking are good things.  THEY-ARE-NOT. 

Sorry dawg, I’m not with that.  College is a great place to get an education, but it is also a great place to catch a venereal disease, become an alcoholic, get raped, get arrested, die from a drug overdose or die of alcohol poisoning.  Sorry to put it that way, but that’s as real as I can get.

If you are sending your child to college, make this clear: College is a great place to have fun, but responsibility is a requirement.  Hold your children accountable, and we must also hold any university accountable for accepting irresponsible behavior as simply a “part of college life”. 

Consider me radical for saying this, but college is a place to be educated.  Everything else should be secondary.  Don’t let your kids fall victim to the ignorance.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Black Faculty struggle for Advancement Around the Nation

Today there are more than 33,000 African Americans teaching full-time at colleges and universities in the United States. But the progress into faculty ranks is so slow that, at the current rate, it will take about a century and a half for the percentage of African-American faculty to reach parity with the percentage of blacks in the nation’s population.

Over the years this journal has given major attention to institutional efforts that bring more black students to their campuses. But of equal importance to the progress of blacks in higher education is the presence of black faculty.

Black faculty members are important role models and mentors to black students. A critical mass of black faculty members on campus tends to have a major positive impact on efforts to recruit black students to a college campus. Not to be overlooked, too, is the fact that black faculty often offer students a different perspective on racial and social issues which can enrich the education process.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education, in 2003 there were 33,137 African Americans serving in full-time faculty positions at colleges and universities in the United States. They made up 5.3 percent of all full-time faculty in American higher education. Thus, while blacks are 12 percent of the total enrollments in higher education, the black presence in faculty ranks is less than half the black student enrollment figure.

In considering these statistics it is important to note that approximately 60 percent of all full-time faculty at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities are black. The thousands of black faculty members at these institutions mean that the African-American percentage of the total faculty at the nation’s predominantly white institutions is significantly less than the 5.3 percent total for full-time faculty nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Education data also shows that while blacks are increasing their numbers in holdings of faculty posts, the progress has been slow. A quarter-century ago in 1981, blacks were 4.2 percent of all full-time faculty in American higher education. Today, as stated earlier, the figure is 5.3 percent.

If we were to project into the future the progress blacks have made into full-time faculty positions over the past quarter-century, we find that it would take about 140 years before the percentage of black full-time faculty equaled the current percentage of the black population in the United States.

Black Faculty Are Scarce in Full Professor Positions

click to read more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dr Billy Hawkins on the Dr. Boyce Tenure Case: Syracuse University Screwed Up

Dr. Billy Hawkins, University of Georgia

A typical error Black academics make is to believe that the academy is open and accepting of new ideas and insights. They initially welcome us with open arms, but we soon find out that the shelf life of this welcome is brief and that their minds were never really open and accepting. I have come to think of it in terms of the structural deficiencies and inability of these institutions to sincerely assimilate fresh new perspectives and energies into their paradigms. Therefore, in the context of the phrase “new wine in old wineskins” the evolutionary Messiah, Jesus Christ, informs of the perils of progressive thinking within an archaic system.

Dr. Boyce Watkins lack of tenure at the University of Syracuse speaks to this issue and to the broader issue of how Predominantly White Institutions are conservative and myopic in their agendas, curricula, and missions than they are progressive and bastions of forward-thinkers. The tenure process has always worked as a mechanism to temper and corral the radical embers that spark change from the status quo and challenge previous preconceive notions. Inherent in the tenure and promotion process are prescriptions for appropriate behavior and academic inquiry. Speaking truth to power is not one of the prescriptions rewarded in this process, especially if you are a Black professor.

Click to read.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Morehouse College Student Shoots Another One

Joshua Brandon Norris is expected to graduate soon and become a Morehouse Man, with all its prestige. At 22, he’s had a good run during his time at Morehouse College. He drove a Hummer, co-owned a fashion store at Perimeter Mall and owns a stylish $450,000 townhouse.

He also shot another student.

Across the country, Frank Rashad Johnson, the victim, attends Sacramento City College and lives with his mother, trying to save money. He, too, wanted to be a Morehouse Man.

“My great-uncle was a classmate of Martin Luther King’s,” Johnson said. “It has a long history of exemplary students and good men. It was my dream school.”

But all that fell apart when he was shot three times outside a school-related Halloween party near Atlantic Station in 2007. Police reports say Norris was kicked out of a nightclub, had words with Johnson after bumping into him outside, then shot the fellow Morehouse student during a struggle in the street.

Completing a Morehouse degree is vital to Norris. Fulton County Judge Marvin Arrington ordered him to do so after he pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The deal calls for six years of probation and comes with first-offender status —- meaning Norris’ record will be wiped clean if he stays out of trouble.

“You’re getting the break of your life,” Arrington said during the Jan. 27 hearing.


Click to read.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NCAA Gets Sued for Stealing Player Images

Electronic Arts Inc. and the National Collegiate Athletic Association were sued by a former college football player who claims athletes’ images are used in video games without their permission and in violation of NCAA rules.

Electronic Arts, the second-largest video-game publisher, circumvents the rules by allowing customers to upload player names directly into games and creating images that closely resemble student athletes to increase sales and NCCA royalties, according to the complaint filed by Sam Keller, a former quarterback for Arizona State University.

The practice is sanctioned by the NCAA and a licensing company for the association, Keller said in his complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California. Keller seeks to represent all NCCA football and basketball players featured in Electronic Arts’ NCAA video games.

“Electronic Arts is not permitted to use player names and likeness,” Keller said. Yet the company “with the knowledge, participation and approval of the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Co. extensively utilizes actual player names and likeness.”


Click to read.