Enrollment Cap at Campuses of California State University Likely to Disproportionately Affect College-Bound Blacks

Because of budget restraints the California State University system, for the first time in its history, is poised to turn away qualified students who seek admission to its 23 campuses. While there is increased demand, the university is planning to reduce enrollments by 10,000 students for the 2009-10 academic year.

Fewer transfer and foreign students will be admitted. And students who drop out will not be replaced. The university system projects that up to 5,000 fewer freshmen will be offered places in the California State system.

These cutbacks in enrollments must be viewed against California law holding that race may not be considered in admissions decisions at public universities in California. Therefore, the students who will be denied places will be those with the lowest standardized test scores and grade point averages. And black students tend to be a disproportionate percentage of this low-scoring group.

There are about 22,000 black undergraduates on CalState campuses. They make up more than 6 percent of the total enrollments. Many hundreds of college-bound black students, who otherwise would have been admitted, may be denied places due to the new enrollment cap.


The Higher Education Credentials of Obama’s Senior Black Appointments

Barack Obama, a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, has appointed a number of African Americans with equally impressive academic credentials to high posts in his administration. Here are the details:

Eric H. Holder Jr. is the first African American to be named attorney general of the United States. He is a graduate of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in American history at Columbia University. In 1976 he graduated from Columbia Law School. Holder served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.

Holder is married to Sharon Malone. She is the sister of Vivian Malone, who was the first black graduate of the University of Alabama.

Valerie B. Jarrett is a close adviser and friend of Barack and Michelle Obama. She has been named White House senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison. She is a graduate of Stanford University where she majored in psychology. She earned a law degree at the University of Michigan. Jarrett has been serving as CEO of the Habitat Company, a large Chicago housing developer.

Jarrett’s grandfather, Robert Taylor, was the first African-American graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her father is professor emeritus of pathology and medicine at the University of Chicago.

Susan E. Rice was named by Obama as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She was the assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the Clinton administration. Her father, Emmett J. Rice, is a former governor of the Federal Reserve and professor of economics at Cornell University.

Susan Rice is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University where she majored in history. She became a Rhodes Scholar and completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. at Oxford.


Howard University Receives Donation of Lois Mailou Jones Painting

An anonymous donor has contributed a 1938 painting by African-American artist Lois Mailou Jones to the Howard University Gallery of Art. The painting joins 13 other works by Jones that are currently housed in the gallery and were donated to the university in 2005 by the artist’s estate.

The new addition to the Howard collection is a painting of the view outside the window of the artist’s apartment when she lived in Paris. Jones was a member of the Howard faculty for more than 40 years.


Purdue University’s Black Recruitment Efforts Hampered by Inadequate Funds for Scholarships

Blacks make up only 4 percent of the 33,000-member undergraduate student body at Purdue University, a state-operated educational institution in West Lafayette, Indiana. The black enrollment figures are particularly discouraging considering that the university is located just an hour from Indianapolis and two hours from the large black population center of Chicago.

Purdue University officials cite an intense competition for highly qualified black students from Indiana University, Notre Dame, and top-tier colleges and universities in nearby states.

But probably the most important factor is money. Mary Sadowski, director of undergraduate programs at Purdue’s College of Technology, told the Lafayette Journal and Courier: “If you have an African-American son or daughter who is very bright, they are going to get scholarships. It wasn’t that we didn’t offer them anything. It was just that some other university offered them more.”


The Snail-Like Progress of Blacks Into Faculty Ranks

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that in 2007 there were 37,862 black faculty members at degree-granting institutions in the United States. Black faculty accounted for 5.4 percent of the total faculty at all degree-granting institutions.

Blacks have made snail-like progress in winning greater faculty positions. More than a quarter-century ago, in 1981, blacks were 4.2 percent of all faculty in higher education. Today, as stated, the figure is 5.4 percent. At this rate of progress it would take nearly a century and a half for the percentage of black faculty in higher education to match the percentage of blacks in the overall American work force.


$249  Average amount that white workers with 401(k) plans contribute to their retirement accounts each month.

$169  Average amount that African-American workers with 401(k) plans contribute to their retirement accounts each month.

source: Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey, 2008


Ranking the Performance of Flagship State Universities in Enrolling Low-Income Students

JBHE  research shows that the nation’s most prestigious universities are doing a poor job in educating low-income students of all races. On average the flagship state universities have higher percentages of low-income students than the high-ranking institutions.

The University of New Mexico has the largest percentage of low-income students. At the University of New Mexico more than 42 percent of all students come from low-income families. Most of these families are Hispanic or American Indian. At flagship state universities in California, Idaho, and Montana, more than 30 percent of all enrollees are from low-income families.

At the University of Virginia and the University of Delaware only 7.3 percent of all students come from low-income families. Both of these states have large numbers of low-income blacks. But they also have state-operated universities that are predominantly black.



• Ronald D. Blanton, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Blanton is a graduate of Calvin College. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan.

• Josephine Allen, the first black woman to earn tenure at Cornell University, assumed the title of professor emerita in the College of Human Ecology. Dr. Allen, who has been on the Cornell faculty since 1977, is a graduate of Vassar College. She earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan.

• Tommy Stevenson, assistant dean of diversity programs and student development at the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University, was named president-elect of the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates.

Dr. Stevenson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State University. He earned an educational doctorate from Bowling Green State University.

• Doris Nyaga was appointed pre-awards coordinator for the Office of External Affairs at Fort Valley State University. Her duties will be to help faculty pursue grant funding.

Nyaga is a graduate of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia. She is currently studying for a master’s degree at Georgia State University.

• Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, associate vice president for enrollment management and director of scholarships and student aid at Syracuse University, was elected to a two-year term as chair of the board of trustees of The College Board.

A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Copeland-Morgan holds an MBA from the University of La Verne.

Norfolk State University Student Launches His Political Career

Anthony Triplin, a political science major at Norfolk State University in Virginia, has announced his candidacy for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 89th District in Norfolk is currently represented by Kenneth Alexander, an African American who is a graduate of Old Dominion University. Alexander has represented the district since 2002.

Triplin is running on a platform that espouses access to health insurance for all Virginians. He also is a strong advocate for higher education and wants the state to provide more financial aid for low-income students.


“There should be no cursing, no saggin’ pants, and no use of the word whose plural spelled backwards is ‘saggin.’ All are beneath the image of the Morehouse man. Showing your drawers, your underpants, is unacceptable.”

William Tweedle, residence hall director at Morehouse College in Atlanta, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, 12-7-08


High-Ranking Colleges and Universities With Huge Racial Disparities in Student Graduation Rates

Generally, black student graduation rates are very positive at the nation’s highest-ranked colleges and universities.

But 17 of the 57 high-ranking colleges and universities in a recent JBHE survey still show a black graduation rate that is 10 percentage points or more below the graduation rate for white students.

This year there are 20-point gaps at Middlebury College, Carleton College, and Washington and Lee University. The racial graduation rate gap is 19 percentage points at the University of Michigan and Bowdoin College.


MBA Fellowships for African Students Offered at the University of Chicago

The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago has announced the establishment of a fellowship program that will offer four full-tuition scholarships to students from Africa or other areas of the globe with developing economies. Preferences will be given to students who plan to pursue a career in financial services.

In addition to the scholarship awards, students will have the chance to participate in mentoring relationships with business school faculty. Also, summer internship opportunities at area banks and corporations will be made available to the students who receive the fellowships.


Black University Partners in Work-Study Program With Continental Airlines

Delaware State University, the historically black educational institution in Dover, has entered into a work-study partnership agreement with Continental Airlines. Under the program, students in Delaware State’s airway sciences will be eligible for the 10 internships the airline offers each summer. Continental recruiters will come to campus each year to interview students for the internship positions. Students accepted into the internship will work either at the airline’s corporate headquarters in Houston or at Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.

Continental hopes that the internship program will result in more black pilots at the airline. Currently 10 graduates of the Delaware State airways science program are Continental pilots.

Delaware State is one of three black colleges with a pilot training program and the only HBCU with its own aircraft fleet.


The Universities Granting the Most Doctoral Degrees to Blacks

The preliminary report on doctoral degrees from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago states that over the most recent five year period, Howard University in Washington, D.C., has awarded 296 doctorates to African Americans. This is the most of any university in the nation.

Nova Southeastern University ranked second with 264 doctoral degree awards to African Americans. Also among the top five doctoral degree granting institutions to blacks were the University of Michigan, Walden University, and the University of Maryland.

Among the top 20 universities in granting doctoral degrees to blacks, in addition to Howard, there were three other historically black educational institutions: Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, and Jackson State University.


Proceeds From Sale of Commemorative Coins Will Benefit Students at Member Institutions of the United Negro College Fund

President Bush recently signed a bill sponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama that directs the U.S. Mint to produce 350,000 $1 coins to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The coins would be minted and distributed in 2014. The House of Representatives has previously passed the legislation.

A $10 surcharge will be added to the sale price of the coin. The proceeds from the surcharge on the sale of commemorative civil rights coins will be donated to the United Negro College Fund. The money will be used for student scholarships at the organization’s 39 member institutions.


University of Nebraska Honors Black Artist and Scholar

The University of Nebraska has named an endowed professorship in honor of Aaron Douglas. In 1922 Douglas was the first African American to earn an art degree at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Douglas went on to establish the art department at Fisk University. He served as the art department chair at Fisk for more than 30 years.

Full professors from any department at any campus of the University of Nebraska are eligible for the professorship.

Douglas died in 1979.


Dartmouth Reports Increase in Black Early Decision Applicants

Dartmouth College received 1,550 early decision applications this year, a 9 percent increase from a year ago. This was the most in the college’s history.

Dean of admissions and financial aid Maria Laskaris reports that 401 students were accepted early. Therefore, the acceptance rate was 26 percent. The overall acceptance rate at Dartmouth last spring was 13.5 percent. So early applicants are about twice as likely to be admitted as all applicants.

Dean Laskaris told JBHE that 27 percent of the students admitted through the early decision process are “students of color.” She stated, “I am pleased by the growing strength and diversity of our early decision applicant pool.”

Dean Laskaris declined to provide information on the number of African Americans among the “students of color” who were admitted early. She did tell JBHE that “we have seen about a 30 percent increase in the number of African-American students applying early decision to Dartmouth over the last five years.”


College of William and Mary Student Is Virginia’s First Black Presidential Elector

Christia Rey, a student at the law school at the College of William and Mary, was one of 13 people chosen to represent Virginia in the Electoral College. This was the first time since the 1964 Johnson landslide that Virginia was in the Democratic column in the presidential election.

Rey, a former captain in the U.S. Army, is the first, and only, African American to be a presidential elector from the state of Virginia.


Morris Brown College Is Functioning on Thin Ice

Morris Brown College, the historically black college in Atlanta, may be forced to close. The college lost its accreditation in 2002 causing enrollments to drop from 3,000 to just 56 students. When a college loses its accreditation, students are no longer eligible for federal financial aid. The college also lost the financial support of the United Negro College Fund. This past semester 240 students were enrolled.

Now the college has $1.5 million in outstanding bills including $380,000 in water bills owed to the city of Atlanta. In late December the city cut off water to the Morris Brown campus. College officials said that it would not reopen for the spring semester without water.


Honors and Awards

• Shaun R. Harper, an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2008 Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Harper is a graduate of Albany State University. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from Indiana University.

• Nancy Randolph Davis, who in 1949 was the first black student to enroll at Oklahoma State University, received the Oklahoma Human Rights Award. She earned a master’s degree at the university in 1952.



• North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro received a $254,500 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a program aimed at increasing the number of black students in the field of journalism.

• South Carolina State University, the historically black educational institution in Orangeburg, received a $359,207 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The funds will be used to launch a minor degree program in international business.


Copyright © 2009. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.