CLOSE
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The presidents of historically black colleges and universities are making their second visit to the White House this year amid strains with the Trump administration over promises unkept.

An annual gathering in the nation’s capital for those schools has been reduced to a two-day summit, further aggravating college officials already frustrated with the White House’s slow pace on keeping its commitments.

“Everyone’s uptight in this day and age with our current president and with what’s going on,” said Ty Couey, president of the National HBCU Alumni Associations. “Things are out of control.”

Trump promised support for the schools during his presidential campaign and Black History Month meetings, when college presidents posed for pictures with the president in the White House.

This time, Trump will not be at the White House to receive them: His schedule puts him in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

Advocates for the schools say there has been little to no action from the Trump administration, including its failure to name an executive director to an office dedicated to these institutions, or the lack of progress on moving that office from the Education Department to the White House, as promised.

In addition, the institutions have not seen increases in their funding in Trump’s proposed budget, and they had to beat back a White House push to call construction money for historically black colleges and universities unconstitutional. To make things worse, all that followed the school presidents posing with Trump for a photo in the Oval Office, which caused a backlash from students, faculty and alumni.

That led to calls from the colleges’ major advocates to postpone the annual National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference.

“It has become painstakingly clear that these promises are not being kept,” said Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., who leads the Congressional HBCU Caucus.

“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,” she said.

The week is normally planned by the White House HBCU Initiative’s executive director along with a presidential HBCU advisory board, said Johnny C. Taylor, president, and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit organization that has supported public historically black colleges and universities since 1987.

“Regrettably, as of August 2017 neither has been appointed,” Taylor said.

Responding to “feedback from key stakeholders,” the Education Department sent an email Sept. 5 saying it was “postponing this year’s National HBCU Week Conference” and replacing it with “more intimate conversations.”

Omarosa Manigault Newman, a HBCU graduate and assistant to the president and director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview last week that the conference was simply scaled back. She said the White House intended to announce an executive director for the initiative on Monday.

Also expected to be announced is a lineup of 62 HBCU “All-Stars” — students who serve as the initiative’s ambassadors to black colleges.

Newman said the leaders will discuss capital financing, improving student outcomes, alliances with the tech sector and post-secondary degrees. Students will get a tour of the White House, mentoring and a special tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“President Trump’s commitment to the HBCU Community remains strong and unwavering,” she said in a statement. “Registration remains at capacity and we are looking forward to welcoming HBCU presidents, students and guests.”

On Friday, Trump issued a presidential proclamation designating the upcoming week as HBCU week, and said those schools, many of which “were founded under the cold shadow of segregation and racial prejudice,” have long played “an integral role in our nation’s history, providing black Americans opportunities to learn and achieve their dreams.”

The United Negro College Fund and its leaders said they “will be at the table at the White House.”

“UNCF intends to take every opportunity to participate in serious discussions with federal policymakers to ensure that each and every African-American student enjoys a successful journey from school to college and career,” the group said.

Trump received 8 percent of the African-American vote during the election. Since then, he has generated controversy through several statements, including saying last month said there were “very fine people” among the white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis protesting the possible removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“There is legitimate concern that some may want to use this event to protest, boycott or much worse, refuse to work with the Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress,” Taylor said.

The White House is not the only game in town, Couey said.

“A lot of our time is not spent on Trump. He’s just one individual,” he said. “We have many friends in Congress that we interact with; we have many friends within the federal government. These are the people we’re dealing with, the people who actually get things done.”

Adams now plans to hold an inaugural “HBCU Brain Trust” meeting during the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual meeting.

“Despite the ongoing drama and unnecessary distractions of the president’s own making, we plan to move forward with opportunities for HBCU leaders to engage in substantive dialogues that put our schools and students first,” Adams said.

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this story.

Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Also On Black America Web:
Find Out What Your Favorite Celebs Did On Instagram (09/01-09/07)
10 photos

8 thoughts on “White House, Black Colleges Heads To Meet Amid Strained Ties

  1. big Time on said:

    been waiting on these school presidents to realize who has the power… Imagine if all AA atheletes enroll at HBCU’s… Establishment is still using minorities as modern day slaves… middle school … high school… college… SAT/ACT… jerseys… camps… autographs… oops … rewarded with an education which you may not find a job in your field… doesnt seem fair…

      • Well, the white man owns everything and taken everything and over the majority of the economics so it is only logic to ask for it since they are the ones who controls most of it.

  2. FallMornings on said:

    Why haven’t the HBCU’s received money from their alumni? Most graduates of colleges and universities give money from the schools they graduated from. Shame blacks don’t do the same.

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

&pubUrl=[PAGE_URL_ENCODED]&x=[WIDTH]&y=[HEIGHT]&vp_content=plembeddf3ixunshlvk&vp_template=3854" ]