SBNation this week published a strong piece on the movement of many small college to abandon intercollegiate sports. Its prime example of how to make it work – Spelman College.
Controversial republican senator Rand Paul is speaking at Howard University today, bringing a slew of hope from the political right about the party’s outreach efforts to African-Americans, and a lot of laughter from the left doubting that it will work.
It is a critical moment for the Republican party; the first major venture onto an HBCU campus just days after the party publically released a report detailing how they must repent of socio-political sins of the past to gain any hope of winning federal elections of the future. Howard is no stranger to Republican guests; it counts Colin Powell and George H.W. Bush among invited guests over the last 30 years.
But this visit will be different; it will be a major speech delivered by a legislator more closely aligned with divisive rhetoric than with political brokering along racial lines.
So how will Howard students react to the visit? Will they be open to dialogue about the GOP working to leverage better understanding of conservative political values? Will they reject the visit as an empty ploy to win black votes?
Both sides deserve credit, Paul for reaching out to speak to a skeptical black audience, and the university for welcoming controversial views and people to give students and surrounding community exposure to the diverse dialogue.
Renowned HBCU researcher and policy expert Marybeth Gasman recently interviewed one of her summer research assistants for her regular Huffington Post blog. The assistant, a high-achieving African-American female from Philadelphia, revealed that culture and social expectations were major factors in her choice to attend predominantly white UPenn over an HBCU.
There are many social and moral debates that people can have about the watching and making of pornography, but few can argue about the basic tenets of what makes the industry profitable and lasting.
It’s the selling of sex; a basic human need that everyone wants, everyone needs, and is socially taboo enough to push the average, well-intentioned person into a tug-of-war between passing curiosity and outright addiction.
Pornography grosses billions of dollars a year, despite having federal laws and advertising restrictions that limit its visibility to the masses. If they want to find it, people young and old can find a way to get to a store, website or channel that will deliver the goods.
On a far less morally questionable scale, so goes the way we approach HBCU social culture. Students and alums relish sports, homecoming, parties, Greek life and all the fun things that flavor the college experience. These elements attract students from around the country, and bring alumni back to campuses with carefully crafted engagement resources planted within events.
But a look at any common HBCU website or talking points from leadership conveys no connection to the parties and celebrations that enrich the black college culture.
Why shun the elements that make HBCUs culturally unique and appealing? Why present HBCU value and omit the long-standing social structure that, outside of the universal “do you have my major” and “can I afford this place” questions, is a top predictor of enrollment and retention?
Why do we pretend that HBCU “porn” doesn’t exist?
What makes you forward an email to your circle of contacts?
More than likely, it’s a universal truth, a value you hold personally dear, information that you think may empower others, or good news you think may inspire others.
In its email communications, does your HBCU deliver on one or more of these sticking points?
Seemingly, the good news on HBCUs is tailored for forwarding to friends and family. Let’s run through the above checklist of how emails become sticky enough to forward to thousands of people around the world, and how these same primal attention grabbers are present at HBCUs.
Filmmaker and North Carolina A&T State University alumnus Michael Anthony will be screening the documentary “Walls that Bleed: The Story of the Dudley-A&T Student Uprising” in the Washington-Metropolitan in late June. The film recaptures the events surrounding the protests of students from Greensboro, NC’s Dudley High School and nearby North Carolina A&T.
10 undergraduate and graduate business students from the Bowie State University College of Business recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia, designed to provide international business experience and to foster international education for the participants.
[mpoverlay]Historically black colleges and universities have had a rough few weeks in the national media. Morgan State University finds itself on the heels of a five-day international coverage blitz of murder and cannibalism charges levied against a former student. Florida A&M University remains a national news fixture more than six months after the hazing death of Marching 100 drum major Robert Champion.
Both are legitimate, newsworthy stories that have been logged internationally with biased perspectives as a result of their local reporting. Regional papers frame these schools through the physical placement of the stories online and in print, misrepresenting images, unbalanced use of quotes and statistics, stinging editorials and blog content with racist rhetoric in reader comments all to present an unbalanced idea of failing leadership, fed up students, and detached alumni of the schools and HBCUs in general.
Technology has strengthened the reach and appeal of both the city-wide daily and the 24-hour cable or Internet news machine. The evolving definition of media literacy, and the new danger of media influence against HBCUs and Black Americans demands increased advocacy for fair coverage, or at least a louder call to support responsible black media outlets with readership and financial support to better cover our institutions. Media leverage and representation must become a new focus of the modern civil rights movement, and must be driven by tech-savvy, media immersed black youth.
It’s reasonable to expect HBCU students to lead this charge for a new and respectable media agenda for Black America, but they must take their cues from the groups best equipped to lend resources and trusted voices to the media fight – tenured black advocacy organizations.
Today’s profile is of students from Savannah State University and their role in a local youth literacy initiative.
Several students from Savannah State University were profiled in today’s edition of the Savannah Morning News for volunteering to read and develop literacy activities with local first graders last semester.
[mpoverlay]There’s plenty wrong with Black America’s media agenda. Our most prominent figure in cinema and television rose to prominence through cross-dressing, Bible-thumping and gun-toting. The only thing shrinking faster than newsrooms across the nation are the number of African-Americans working within them.
Of the media outlets owned and operated by black people, a disparate percentage of them are dedicated to themes and images that largely degrade and devalue the African-American lifestyle and experience.
But in the midst of these issues that required immediate attention 25 years ago, the greatest threat to the black media agenda is the depiction of the HBCU student. Sex tapes, cafeteria brawls, drug use and hazing are the dominant, inaccurate themes representing black scholars from historically black colleges in new media and quickly creeping into mainstream themes.
Alcorn State yesterday announced its new head football coach, former University of Memphis defensive coordinator Jay Hopson. Hopson, the first white head coach in the history of the university and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, was chosen in part because of his recruiting philosophy as it relates to the NCAA’s academic progress rating system.
Hopson’s hire is the sign of a changing reality for HBCUs and academic preparedness of their student athletes. HBCUs are equipped to empower students across a diverse spectrum of learning and achievement to succeed and leave their campuses with degrees. But somewhere between integration and the cultural phenomenon of athletic entitlement, many black athletes became numb to competitive approaches in the classroom. Schools of all sizes and athletic budgets now feel the PR pressure to graduate these athletes or face post-season bans, reduction in scholarships or practice time, or expulsion from NCAA Division I membership.
And where larger PWI’s feel the PR pressure of academic success in athletics, many HBCUs know that the pipes are on the verge of bursting. The NCAA last month acknowledged that historically black colleges and universities face unique challenges in academic support for student athletes, ruling to relax penalties for “low-resourced” schools falling short of the annual academic progress rate and salvaging the 2012 post season hopes of football programs at Southern and Jackson State, among others.
[mpoverlay]There’s an argument to be made about the deliberations surrounding the next head football coach at Alcorn State University. Deadlines were established, pushed back, and consequently passed by for perhaps the most notable black college football coaching hire of the 2012 offseason. Recruiting for the Braves is certainly unbroken, but surely bowed against the likes of SWAC talent hawks like Rick Comegy and Monte Coleman.
But Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown and the Braves program deserve credit for not allowing time or circumstance to dictate the right kind of hire for a program that has championship aspirations. Replacing Melvin Spears was a necessity not only for Alcorn, but for a SWAC that has long suffered controversy at each of his stops as a coordinator or head coach. ASU is about the business of erasing that decision from memory, and replacing it with a coach that not only brings pedigree to the position, but a long-term piece to the effort to build a title contender.