LISTEN: Fear of a ‘Race War’ is Why North Carolina A&T Can’t Get Equitable Funding?

Black elected officials in North Carolina have filed two separate bills to increase funding for the state’s historically black colleges and universities.

The Charlotte Observer reports on their efforts, and the details of each legislative proposal. 

Senate Bill 667 calls for $50 million in recurring funding for 10 HBCUs in the state, half public and half private, to close disparities with funding of non-HBCUs. It also calls for $7.5 million for N.C. A&T State University’s doctoral program…

Black Caucus leaders also want Senate Bill 640, which would require a minimum match of federal funds to support agricultural research and cooperative extension programs.

SB 640 is in particular focus for the NC Black Caucus, whose members defended North Carolina A&T State University’s right to have comparable funding with the state’s other land-grant institution, North Carolina State University. 

But this audio clip (beginning at the 2:16:30 mark, details exactly why NCAT and so many other public HBCUs nationwide find the fight for equity so difficult, and the corresponding resources so hard to come by. 

Attorney and North Carolina Central University Law School alum T. Greg Doucette created a thread about the legislative debate, and the long-term implications of inequitable funding between the land grant institutions. 

Land grant funding inequities continue to be a pressing issue for all 1890 schools. But when lawmakers continue to attach racial bias to funding formulas for schools serving increasingly diverse populations and anchoring important economic development in cities and states, it’s hard to break the mold of thinking that everything is, indeed, about race. 

North Carolina is a rare, sick bird when it comes to holding on to vestiges of racism in symbols, voting access and representation, and political interference in its higher education system

The only antidote is public advocacy, voter engagement, and awareness of the legislative impact on HBCUs. This audio is easily available for people to hear and to act upon. But if no one told you that it contained a dire warning about legislative opposition to funding for North Carolina A&T, how many of us would have bothered to listen to it, or to even look for it in the first place?

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