Officials at Kentucky State University this week announced a unique designation for the university and HBCU culture at large; the Bluegrass state’s flagship public HBCU is among the most diverse in the nation in student and faculty composition, with representation from African Americans and Caucasians split evenly among both groups.
KSU President M. Christopher Brown II said Kentucky State has nearly 50 percent African American students and 50 percent non-black students. Additionally, Kentucky State also has nearly 50 percent African American employees and 50 percent non-black employees.
“It is rare for an institution to be at the midpoint — 50 percent mark on all matrices. There are schools that spend millions of dollars trying to get to that middle point,” President Brown said. “They spend a lot of money on enrollment management, diversity planning and strategic recruitment trying to achieve this level of diversity that indicates maximal engagement.”
Other HBCUs such as West Virginia’s Bluefield State College and West Virginia State University, and Lincoln University of Missouri are historically black in mission but predominantly white in student enrollment and faculty composition.
But KSU’s evenly constructed campus body is an anomaly for black colleges, even those which have worked to diversify in order to receive funds attached to diversity goals established by litigation or public policy. In 2015, Jackson State University received $24 million dollars as a part of a landmark Supreme Court desegregation decision which attached non-black enrollment goals to the state awarding its three HBCU campuses additional funding.
The announcement comes months after the university announced the creation of the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal, a center designed to explore intersections of the three important cultural issues with a focus on racially diverse experiences within each area as defined by the region.