The growing aftermath of the White House controversy following violence and bigotry in Charlottesville, VA last weekend has reached the HBCU community, as leaders from advocacy groups and Capitol Hill are calling for the Trump Administration to cancel the annual White House Initiative on HBCUs conference.
Multiple sources say that President Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks on equal responsibility between fascist protestors and counter-protestors which led to three deaths and multiple injuries, was the final blow in a series of missteps the president has made on issues of racial equity – missteps which many in the community refuse to support with their presence at the annual convening.
Calls for cancellation began this morning when Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Johnny Taylor wrote White House officials, suggesting that the delay in hiring an executive director on its White House Initiative demands more planning and collaboration with HBCU leaders to ensure attention to critical issues.
“If the event is postponed, we request that the administration use the intervening period to hire an executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs and appointing the membership of the President’s Advisory Board on HBCUs; these appointments are necessary first steps for this administration to show its commitment to advancing the HBCU agenda.”
In a press release issued just minutes ago by HBCU Caucus Co-Founder and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), the lack of engagement has pushed the HBCU community to question the president’s promises to the HBCU community.
In this current environment, and with zero progress made on any of their priorities, it would be highly unproductive to ask HBCU Presidents to come back to Washington. I call on the President and Secretary DeVos to postpone this year’s conference until a serious effort has been made to advance issues important to HBCUs and their students.”
The White House has not issued any statement regarding the conference or plans to cancel as of press time.