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Did the White House Kill the Record of Judge Roberts’ Views on Affirmative Action?

Last year during the lead-up to the confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States, it was discovered that a file headed “Affirmative Action” was missing from the White House files stored at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Roberts had worked as a White House aide during the Reagan administration.

A report from the National Archives inspector general found that White House aides from the Bush administration visited the Reagan Library to do a background check on Roberts. The report found that the aides were permitted to bring personal items into the library and were left alone at times with the document collection. The report says that the White House aides were the last known people to see the file entitled “Affirmative Action.”

The White House has denied charges that the aides took or destroyed the file.

Number of African Students at U.S. Universities Drops for the Second Year in a Row

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it was widely expected that the number of foreign students enrolled at colleges and universities in the United States would decline significantly. But this did not occur, particularly for students from African nations. In 2001 there were 34,217 African students at U.S. colleges and universities. Two years later there were 40,193 students from Africa at American colleges and universities. This was an increase of more than 17 percent.

Now it appears that increased political pressures for homeland security measures have begun to curtail the number of foreign students who are permitted to study at higher educational institutions in this country. In 2005 there were 36,100 African students at American colleges and universities. This is a drop of more than 10 percent in just two years.

“Bill Cosby is one of the most generous human beings I’ve ever met in my life. The man has given tens of millions of dollars to black education, kept certain black colleges afloat. And now he catches all this hell because he just says a few things that make a request of blacks: ‘You’ve got to do better in terms of raising your children.’”

Shelby Steele, senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, in the San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2006

Race Is Not a Major Factor in Decisions on Who Is Admitted to College

The annual report State of College Admission from the National Association for College Admission Counseling finds that only 2.3 percent of all colleges place considerable importance on the race or ethnic background of an applicant when making admissions decisions. Another 15.5 percent of colleges and universities place “moderate importance” on race in their decisions. More than three quarters of all colleges and universities say that race and ethnicity have “no importance” on who is, or is not, admitted to their institutions.

Race was more likely to be considered important by colleges and universities in New England, the Middle Atlantic states, and the far western states. Small colleges were more likely than large universities to consider race an important factor. Nearly 8 percent of the colleges and universities that accept fewer than 50 percent of all applicants say that race is of considerable importance in their admissions decisions.

Hospital at a Black College Appears to Have Participated in Eugenics Sterilization Program of African Americans

In 1896 St. Agnes Hospital was established on the campus of St. Augustine’s College, a historically black educational institution in Raleigh, North Carolina. The hospital was built through the labor of black students at St. Augustine’s College. It treated black patients in Raleigh and, in the Jim Crow period, was regarded as the best health-care facility for African Americans between Virginia and New Orleans. A nursing school affiliated with the hospital trained hundreds of African-American nurses. St. Agnes closed in 1961 after racial segregation in health care was no longer practiced in North Carolina.

Irene Clark, a retired professor of biology at St. Augustine’s College, has completed extensive research on the history of the hospital and those physicians who worked there. She has found that at least 11 sterilizations, and possibly many more, were performed at St. Agnes under a North Carolina eugenics program that sterilized 7,600 people in the 1929 to 1973 period.

One of the records Professor Clark found included these details of the person sterilized at the hospital: “Negro, 30 years of age. Is promiscuous with any man who will carry on with her. She would leave her children at night and go out with any man who would come and drink whenever she could get whisky. Diagnosis: feebleminded.”

Records found by Professor Clark found that another 22-year-old black woman was sterilized because she “had inadequate control of her sexual behavior.” Two sterilizations were performed on young black girls under the age of 13. Both black and white physicians were involved in the sterilization procedures.

Ghana’s Open-Door Policy for Descendants of Slaves

The nation of Ghana has one of the largest communities of African Americans on the African continent. It was in Ghana that W.E.B. Du Bois spent his later years. The country was at the center of the African slave trade in the eighteenth century.

Now the nation of Ghana is offering lifetime visas and dual citizenship to African Americans who are descended from slaves. The government hopes to encourage American tourism and investment from African-American entrepreneurs. Lifetime visas for tourists will be readily available. African Americans wanting dual citizenship will be required to live in the country or make a substantial investment in Ghana.

African-American Professor Pulling Up Stakes and Moving to Kenya

Michael J. Laney, professor of telecommunications and chair of the department of communication and arts at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, is going on sabbatical. But Professor Laney is not simply taking time off to do research or to write a book. He is selling his home and using the money to move his wife and two children to Kenya. There he will teach at Daystar University, the largest Christian college in Africa. He plans to conduct research on the effectiveness of sexual abstinence messages in combating AIDS.

In Memoriam

Norma Jean Anderson (1931-2006)

Norma Jean Anderson, professor emerita of education and former associate dean of student and alumni affairs at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, died recently at her home in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. She was 74 years old.

Anderson graduated from high school in Springfield, Illinois, at the age of 15 and then immediately enrolled at the University of Illinois. After graduating from college in 1956 she was the second African American hired as a schoolteacher in Springfield, Illinois. She later earned a doctorate in counseling and organizational psychology at the University of Illinois.

After completing her doctorate, Anderson was named assistant superintendent of schools in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1970 she joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts. She taught there for nearly a quarter of a century before her retirement in 1994.

As associate dean, Anderson was responsible for creating a more diverse student body at the graduate school. She recruited both Camille and Bill Cosby, who both earned doctorates at the university.


Milton L. Brown was appointed associate professor of oncology and neuroscience at Georgetown University. He was an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Virginia. Dr. Brown is a graduate of Oakwood College. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a medical degree from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Brown’s research in medicinal chemistry focuses on developing drugs to fight cancer and diseases of the brain.

Brenda A. Flanagan was appointed to the Edward M. Armfield Sr. Professorship at Davidson College in North Carolina. She is the first African-American faculty member at Davidson to hold an endowed professorship. Professor Flanagan teaches courses in creative writing, African-American literature, and Caribbean literature.

A native of Trinidad, Professor Flanagan earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.


Xavier University in New Orleans received a $500,000 grant from the Pfizer Corporation. The grant will be used to help the university rebuild its chemistry and pharmacology buildings which were heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina last August. As part of the grant, Pfizer will donate $200,000 worth of computers and laboratory equipment to the university.


William Massey, the Edwin Wiley Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University, was named the winner of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize. The prize, bestowed every other year, honors mathematical scientists who have made significant contributions to their field and have served as role models to students from minority groups.

The award will be presented at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in Minneapolis this coming November.

Ken R. Harewood, professor and director of the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute at North Carolina Central University, received the O. Max Gardner Award from the board of governors of the University of North Carolina. Professor Harewood was honored for his research on racial disparities in health care and for his work to increase the number of black and minority students pursuing careers in the natural sciences.

Professor Harewood is a graduate of New York University. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the City University of New York.

Philip Simmons, who received no formal education after the sixth grade, received an honorary doctorate from South Carolina State University. As a young man, Simmons, now 92 years old, worked as a blacksmith shoeing horses. He later turned his attention to making ornamental gates and other iron adornments for homes, parks, and businesses. These works of art can be seen throughout Charleston and other South Carolina cities.


Snail-Like Progress in Increasing Black Full-Time Faculty in Higher Education

New data from the U.S. Department of Education reports that in 2004 there were 33,137 black full-time faculty members at degree-granting institutions in the United States. They made up 5.4 percent of the more than 610,000 full-time faculty members at these institutions.

There has been snail-like progress in increasing the black percentage of full-time faculty at U.S. institutions of higher education. Fifteen years ago in 1991, blacks were 4.7 percent of all full-time faculty. At this rate of improvement, it would take nearly two centuries for the black percentage of full-time faculty to equal the black percentage of the U.S. population.

Black women made up 51 percent of all African-American full-time faculty members. White women made up just 39 percent of white full-time faculty.

Black representation in faculty ranks grows smaller at the highest levels of faculty positions. Blacks are 6.6 percent of the assistant professors and 7.4 percent of the instructors but only 3.2 percent of the full professors.

Black women are only 36 percent of all African-American full professors but 54 percent of the assistant professors and 58 percent of the instructors.

No Improvement in Black Faculty Levels at the University of California

A new report from the Task Force on Faculty Diversity at the University of California finds that there has been an increase in the total number of black and other minority faculty on the system’s campuses. But the percentage of black faculty has remained stagnant since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996. This public referendum not only bans race-sensitive student admissions at the University of California but also prohibits the use of race as a factor in hiring decisions for faculty positions.

The data shows that from 1984 to 2005 there have been 9,021 appointments to faculty positions at the University of California’s campuses. Of these, 275, or 3 percent, have been black. In the latest year, there were 20 black faculty appointments systemwide at the University of California. They made up 3.7 percent of the 542 faculty appointments.

At the flagship campus of the University of California at Berkeley, 48 blacks have been named to the faculty in the 1984 to 2005 period. They made up 3.5 percent of the 1,365 appointments made in that period.

The study also found that black and other minority faculty members are concentrated in the humanities and social sciences and almost nonexistent in many scientific fields. The report found that the number of black faculty on many campuses is so low that African-American scholars often develop a sense of isolation and marginalization in their academic experiences.

African-American College Students Are Less Likely Than White College Students to Work and More Likely to Be Unable to Find a Job While in College

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 56.7 percent of all white college students hold jobs while attending school. Only 44.2 percent of African-American college students are employed.

For the past half-century in the United States — in both good economic times and bad — blacks have been twice as likely to be unemployed as whites. Unfortunately, this ratio holds true for college students. For blacks enrolled in college, 10.5 percent are actively seeking work but cannot find it. For white college students, only 5.7 percent are seeking work but cannot find a job.

Harvard Maintains Its Level of Black Enrollments and Increases Its Number of Low-Income Students

Harvard College announced that African Americans will make up 9.3 percent of the freshman class that will enroll next fall. This is identical to the black percentage of the freshman class in the 2005-06 academic year, which established a record.

In addition, Harvard’s new financial aid program for low-income students appears to be having a major impact in increasing the economic diversity of students who come to Harvard. The new program eliminates the parental contribution for all families with incomes below $60,000 and reduces the amount of money that has to be paid by families with incomes in the $60,000 to $80,000 range.

Harvard reports that 85.3 percent of all students admitted who were eligible for the new financial aid program accepted the university’s offer of admission. The university estimates that 25 percent of the students in the incoming class will be eligible for funds under the new Harvard Financial Aid Initiative.

354,000  Number of African Americans who earned a high school diploma in 2005.

114,000   Number of African Americans who dropped out of high school in the 2004-05 academic year.

source: U.S. Bureau of the Census

Black College in Memphis Needs Financial Help

LeMoyne-Owen College, the historically black educational institution in Memphis, was placed on probation this past December by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The college’s $6 million debt was one of the main reasons the accrediting agency raised the red flag. If LeMoyne-Owen does not get its finances in order, the college may lose its accreditation, which would make all students at the college ineligible for federal financial aid.

As a sign of the problems facing the college, board chair Jim Bishop recently resigned his position and the college’s faculty issued a vote of “no confidence” in college president James Wingate and senior vice president Sheila Fleming-Hunter.

New chair of the board of trustees Robert Lipscomb has stated that the college must raise $1 million by June 30 to cover current operating expenses.

New Mexico State University Recruits Transfer Students From Black Colleges With In-State Tuition Rates

Blacks are less than 3 percent of all students at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. And more than 10 percent of all black students at the university are football players.

But the trustees of New Mexico State are mounting a firm effort to boost racial diversity on campus. The trustees approved a plan whereby students who transfer to New Mexico State from any historically black college or university will be charged in-state tuition rates regardless of their state of residence.

Currently, in-state tuition at New Mexico State is $4,206. Students from outside of New Mexico pay $13,560. A similar waiver of the outside tuition cost is being offered to community college students in Oklahoma and Texas who transfer to New Mexico State for their junior and senior year. Many community colleges in Texas and Oklahoma have large numbers of black students.

Kappa Alpha, an Organization With Ties to the Old South, Plans to Build a New Fraternity House in a Black Neighborhood of Athens, Georgia

The Kappa Alpha fraternity chapter at the University of Georgia is building a new three-story, 18-bedroom mansion on a six-acre lot off campus. The new fraternity house is located in the predominantly black Hancock neighborhood of Athens.

But black residents of the area are not happy about having the fraternity as a neighbor. Until 2000 the Kappa Alpha chapter at the University of Georgia flew the Confederate battle flag outside its fraternity house. Until this year the fraternity held its annual Old South parade with fraternity members dressed in Confederate outfits.

Kappa Alpha chapters at other universities have been suspended for racist behavior. Despite the record of bad publicity in the late 1990s, there have been no race-related incidents involving Kappa Alpha chapters over the past five years.

The fraternity was founded in 1865 at what is now Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Jackson State University Partners With China’s Shaanxi Normal University

Jackson State University, the historically black educational institution in Mississippi, has entered into a partnership agreement with China’s Shaanxi Normal University. Shaanxi, located in the city of Xi’an, is known in China as the “cradle of teachers.”

Under the agreement, the two universities will participate in student and faculty exchange programs. Jackson State also has cooperative agreements with Charles University in Prague and Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland.

Troubles for Nursing Schools at Two Black Colleges in North Carolina

Nursing students nationwide are given the National Council Licensure Examination. Almost 87 percent of the nursing students pass the examination on their first attempt. Nursing schools are required to have a pass rate of 75 percent to ensure accreditation.

But new data shows that two nursing schools at historically black universities in North Carolina are not meeting the minimum standard. At North Carolina Central University in Durham, the passing rate has been 65 percent the past two years, the lowest rate of any nursing school in the state. At North Carolina A&T State University, the examination passage rate dipped to 69 percent in 2005 from 81 percent in 2004. The two nursing schools must improve their passage rates or face action by the state nursing board. Loss of accreditation would be a possibility if low passage rates persisted for several years.

At Winston-Salem State University, another historically black institution, 87 percent of nursing students passed the licensing examination in 2005. But this was down from 97 percent in 2004.


George Henderson, the Sylvan N. Goldman Professor of Human Relations at the University of Oklahoma, has announced his retirement. Henderson was a leading civil rights figure in Oklahoma when he was named to the university faculty in 1967. Two years later he became the first black person in the state to hold an endowed professorship. In 1996 Henderson was named dean of the College of Liberal Studies, the first African-American dean in the history of the university.

Henderson is the author or coauthor of 28 books. In his 1999 book Our Souls to Keep, he revealed that his life mission has been to “help as many white people as I can to learn more about black Americans.”


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