Supreme Court to Take a New Look at Racial Preferences

Sandra Day O’Connor was the deciding vote in the 2003 Grutter case that permitted the continued use of race in admissions decisions at colleges and universities in the United States. Now O’Connor has retired and has been replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, who many observers believe is a staunch opponent of race-based affirmative action.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced this past week that it will once again examine the issue of racial preferences in education. The court accepted for review two cases involving admissions procedures for public schools in Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky. Both school districts allow the use of race as a factor in assigning students to schools.

In Seattle, when a particular high school had more applicants than places, race was used as one factor to maintain a school’s student body at a level as close as possible to the racial makeup of the school district as a whole. The racial factor was more important in assigning places than the school’s proximity to the student’s home.

Supporters of the Grutter ruling, permitting most pursuits of racial preferences in higher education, see a real possibility that Grutter will be overturned.


“Four years ago Duke was headed to the top of the mountain in terms of black faculty, but it seems like we’re sliding back down the mountain before we reached the top. There has to be a sustained institutional commitment to this. You can’t recruit today and rest tomorrow.”

Kerry Haynie, an African-American professor of political science at Duke University, commenting on the fact that six black faculty members at the university have recently accepted offers from other institutions, in the Raleigh News & Observer, June 5, 2006


With Larry Summers Gone, Will Cornel West Return to Harvard?

The Boston Globe reports that efforts are under way to recruit Cornel West back to Harvard. West left Harvard in 2002 to join the Princeton faculty after a much publicized controversy with then Harvard president Lawrence Summers.

Now that Summers has stepped down, several faculty members at Harvard are floating the idea that West should be encouraged to return to Cambridge.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the outgoing chair of the African and African-American studies department at Harvard, says that no talks are under way but, he told the Globe, “Nothing could please me more. Cornel West is the man.”

But Charles Ogletree, a close friend of Cornel West and a professor at Harvard Law School, said in the same article, “He loves Princeton. He’s got wonderful colleagues, a supportive president, and an environment where his teaching and his scholarship are consistently respected.”


Study Finds That Self-Injury Abuse Is Common Among Both Black and White College Students

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics by researchers at Cornell University and Princeton University has found that 17 percent of all undergraduate and graduate students have engaged in self-injurious behavior. Students reported cutting or burning themselves or even breaking their own bones.

Some experts believe that self-injury is used as a way to relieve stress of deep-rooted emotional or psychological problems by transferring the pain to the physical body. The study found that in many cases self-injury was not an attempt to gain sympathy because many of the students who engaged in the activity kept it to themselves.

Of the students who had injured themselves, 75 percent reported doing so on more than one occasion. Repeat self-abusers were more likely to be women, bisexuals or students who were questioning their sexual orientation.

Dr. Janis Whitlock of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University told JBHE that “self-injury as a predominately white female phenomenon is a common conception that our data did not fully support.” While Asian Americans were less likely than other ethnic groups to engage in self-abuse, Dr. Whitlock told JBHE her data shows that African-American college students were just as likely as whites to engage in this practice.



Comparing the Black Percentage of Total College Enrollments to the Black Percentage of the Total Population in Each of the Nation’s 50 States

Nationwide, blacks make up 12.5 percent of the total enrollments in higher education. When we look at individual states we find that in Mississippi blacks are 38.5 percent of all enrollments in higher education, the highest level in the nation. In contrast, blacks are only 0.6 percent of the total enrollments in Montana, the lowest rate in the United States.

But when we compare black enrollments to the black population of each state we find that in the three northern New England states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, the black share of total enrollments is three times the black percentage of the population in these states. Each of these states with very small black populations have a number of highly selective colleges that actively recruit black students from around the country. Also, universities in these states recruit black athletes from other parts of the nation for their athletic teams.

The black percentage of all college enrollments in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arizona, Montana, and Idaho, all states with small black populations, is at least double the black percentage of the state’s population.

In contrast, in the states of Wisconsin and New York, the black percentage of all college enrollments is significantly less than the black percentage of the state’s population. 


The Persisting Myth That Black Colleges Are Becoming Whiter

Last week JBHE reported that, combined, the nation’s black colleges have slightly higher percentages of black students than they did 10 or 20 years ago.

If we look at individual black colleges and universities we find that blacks make up about two thirds or more of all enrollments at all but three of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. At two thirds of the black colleges, blacks are 90 percent or more of the total enrollments. At many of the black colleges where blacks are not 90 percent or more of all enrollments, foreign students or Hispanics make up large percentages of the student body. At many black colleges and universities, a handful of white students at most can be found.

Furthermore, at some of the black colleges with the lowest percentages of black students, the percentage of blacks in their student bodies has increased significantly over the past decade. For example, at Lincoln University in Missouri in 2003, blacks were 34.1 percent of all enrollments. A decade earlier, blacks were only 27.4 percent of the enrollments. At Kentucky State University, racial integration efforts had succeeded to such a degree in 1993 that 47.7 percent of all enrollments at the university were black. The latest figure shows that blacks are now 64.2 percent of all enrollments. At Langston University in Oklahoma, blacks were 57.8 percent of all enrollments in 1993. Today, more than three quarters of all students at the university are black.


How a Confederate Navy Submarine Restoration Project Helped Black Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

The Hunley was a Confederate submarine which on February 17, 1864 sunk the USS Housatonic in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. This was the first time in history that a ship of any kind had been sunk by a submarine.

The Hunley herself also sank before reaching port after completing her successful mission. The ship was discovered by divers in 1995 and raised to the surface in 2000.

In 1997 South Carolina state senator Glenn F. McConnell estimated that it would cost between $5 million and $10 million to restore the ship and house it in an appropriate museum. McConnell said at the time that there were private donors prepared to finance much of the project.

McConnell is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and operates the CSA Galleries which is described as the largest Civil War memorabilia store in the nation. He also led the fight against efforts to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol building. Because of his interest in Civil War history McConnell was appointed chair of the Hunley Commission which oversees the submarine’s restoration project. In 2000, after the submarine was raised and the remains of the eight crew members were recovered, McConnell gave the eulogy for the crew dressed in the uniform of a Confederate general.

In 2001 McConnell was installed as Senate Pro Tempore, a position in which he yields considerable power over the state’s purse strings.

Now an investigation by The State, the daily newspaper in Charleston, has determined that $97 million has been spent on the Hunley project and 85 percent of the costs have been borne by the taxpayers.

According to the analysis by The State, McConnell has been able to secure Senate funding for the project by supporting the pet projects of other senators. Due to the immense power he yields in the Senate chamber, few senators are willing to challenge him on appropriations for the Hunley project.

McConnell reportedly agreed to secure between $3 million and $5 million a year from state lottery proceeds to support South Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities. In return, the Black Caucus of the state legislature agreed to support McConnell’s Hunley restoration project. State senator Darrell Jackson told The State, “It was mutually understood we would respect each other’s passions and not try to derail them. It’s like, ‘Let him do his thing.’ He’s passionate about it. It’s not worth the scars.”


States’ Merit-Based Grant Awards to College Students Quadruple in the Past Decade: Black Students Often Are Not Eligible for These Grants

According to a new report from the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs, more than $7.9 billion in financial aid for college and graduate students was provided by the 50 states in the 2004-05 academic year. This was an increase of 8 percent from the prior year.

About 73 percent of all state financial aid was based on need. About 20 percent of this need-based aid also has a merit component where only high-performing low-income students are eligible for the financial aid. From 1999 to 2005, the percentage of all state financial aid that was need based dropped from 81 percent to 73 percent.

Overall, nearly $1.8 billion in financial aid based solely on merit was awarded by state governments in 2005. This is four times the amount a decade ago. College-bound blacks, who on average have significantly lower grade point averages and scores on standardized tests than whites, often do not meet the eligibility requirements for these merit-based awards.

If this merit-based aid were redirected to needy students, the allocation could provide funds for an additional 150,000 or more financially pressed students to attend state-operated colleges and universities in the U.S.


Black Faculty in the Social Sciences: Gains in Sociology and Political Science But No Progress in Economics

Nationwide about 5 percent of all full-time college and university faculty are black. But this figure includes the large numbers of blacks who teach at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. Therefore, the percentage of black faculty at the nation’s predominantly white institutions is probably closer to 4 percent.

A new study by Ann M. Beutel and Donna J. Nelson of the University of Oklahoma finds that blacks have achieved a significant representation on the faculties of the nation’s major research universities in the disciplines of political science and sociology. But the study found that blacks are still very rare in the economics departments of these universities.

Beutel and Nelson surveyed the 50 departments in each discipline with the largest research budgets according to rankings established by the National Science Foundation. The departments with the largest research budgets generally are at large universities and tend to be the most prestigious in their fields.

The survey found that there were 1,318 faculty teaching political science at universities with the 50 largest research budgets in the field. Of these 1,318 scholars, 66, or 5 percent, are black. More than 60 percent of the black political scientists at these universities are men.

In the field of sociology, the survey found a total of 1,066 scholars teaching at the 50 universities with the most prestigious sociology departments. Of these, 70 or 6.6 percent are black. In sociology the gender gap was smaller than in political science with black men holding 54 percent of the posts held by African Americans.

But black scholars have made little headway in economics. The survey found a total of 1,288 faculty of all races at the 50 universities with the largest research budgets in economics. Only 21 are black. Thus, blacks make up only 1.6 percent of the total economics faculty at these universities. More than three quarters of the black economists at these universities are men.


Are the Black Colleges in Compliance With Federal Regulations Regarding Gender Equity in Athletic Competition?

Title IX of the Higher Education Act requires colleges and universities to provide equal intercollegiate athletic opportunities for men and women in substantial proportion to their enrollment. If equality has not been achieved, colleges must demonstrate that they are making progress toward achieving equality.

But JBHE research finds that the black colleges and universities on average have extremely large differences between their percentage of women athletes and the percentage of women in their student bodies. Of the 40 black colleges and universities surveyed, 39 HBCUs had a lower percentage of women athletes than the percentage of women in the student body. Only at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore did the percentage of black women among scholarship athletes exceed the percentage of black women in the entire student body. Central State University in Ohio and St. Paul’s College in Texas have only minor differences. At all of the other 37 black colleges in our survey, the percentage of black women in the student body was at least 10 percentage points higher than the percentage of black women among all African-American scholarship athletes.

At seven HBCUs, there was at least a 35 percentage point shortfall in the percentage of black women athletes compared to the percentage of women in the student bodies at these institutions. The seven HBCUs are Shaw University, Jackson State University, Clark Atlanta University, Virginia Union University, Lincoln University of Missouri, Mississippi Valley State University, and South Carolina State University.


African Nations Hosting the Most American College Students Who Are Studying Abroad

In last week’s edition we reported data which showed the African nations that are sending the most students to study at American institutions of higher education. 

Now we turn the tables and show which African nations are hosting the most American university students.

More than 191,000 American students studied at foreign institutions of higher education during the 2003-04 academic year. This was up 9.6 percent from a year earlier. A vast majority of Americans studying abroad (60.9 percent) attended universities in Europe. Of all U.S. students studying abroad, 5,699, or 3 percent, attended universities in Africa. The number of American students studying in Africa was up a whopping 18 percent from the previous year.

Among black African nations, South Africa was the most popular destination. In the 2003-04 academic year, 2,009 American students studied in South Africa. This was up by 26 percent from the prior year. In the 1994-95 academic year, only 86 Americans were enrolled at South African universities. Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, and Uganda were the only other black African nations hosting more than 100 American college students.

Of the 191,321 American students studying abroad in all areas of the globe, 5,627, or 3.4 percent, were African Americans.


11%  Percentage of all white students in kindergarten through eighth grade who cared for themselves after school in 2005.

16%  Percentage of all African-American students in kindergarten through eighth grade who cared for themselves after school in 2005.

source: U.S. Department of Education

Black Kids Are Often in a Hostile Learning Environment

One of the major obstacles facing black students as they prepare for college in middle and high schools is that they are far more likely than white students to be in a school where the learning environment is not conducive to productive education. A new poll by the opinion research organization Public Agenda found that 30 percent of all black students said that their teachers spend more time maintaining order than on instruction. Only 14 percent of white students agreed. More than one half of all black students said that their classmates used bad language and did not respect their teachers in the classroom. Less than one third of white students said that their teachers were not respected by their classmates.

Black parents were more than twice as likely as white parents to say that weapons and fighting were serious problems in the schools their children attended.

University of Phoenix


University of Phoenix is the nation’s largest private, for-profit university, with over 250,000 students and 20,000 faculty. It serves a population of working students at 254 campuses and learning centers in 39 states, Canada, Mexico, Netherlands and Puerto Rico as well as online, all over the world. University of Phoenix offers academic degree programs at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels and also provides some continuing education, certification and workforce training programs.

The President’s office is located at its central administration headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, and the position reports to the University of Phoenix Board of Directors and the CEO of Apollo Group, of which it is a subsidiary. 

The ideal candidate will hold a doctorate and have experience in academic leadership as well as having a demonstrated ability to promote educational excellence, service and student success. In addition, the candidate must exhibit a track record of collaboration, managing human and fiscal resources and public speaking. University of Phoenix has an ambitious agenda including advancing its role in doing the nation’s work by providing access and opportunity to higher education, through innovation, cutting-edge technology, and comprehensive learning assessment. 

To apply: Well-qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume referencing the President Posting, to 4365 E. Elwood St. Mail stop AA-A301, Phoenix AZ 85040, or fax 480-929-7399.

For additional information, visit the University’s Web site at and 

Blacks Narrow the Racial Gap in High-Speed Internet Access in the Home

The Internet has become an essential research and learning tool of American education. But throughout the brief history of the information age, blacks have always lagged whites in access to this important resource. But there is good news that the racial gap in Internet access is closing.

A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that the racial gap in access to broadband Internet service has narrowed significantly in the past year. The study found that 31 percent of African-American adults now have broadband Internet access at home. This is up from 14 percent in 2005.

Whites are still more likely than blacks to have high-speed connections. In 2006, 42 percent of white Americans had broadband Internet connections at home, 11 percentage points higher than the rate for blacks. But the racial gap was 17 percentage points in 2005.

In Memoriam

James E. Jones (1928-2006)

James E. Jones, a long-time staff member and professor at the University of Chicago’s Lying-In Hospital, died late last month in Chicago from prostate cancer. He was 77 years old.

A native of Sedalia, Missouri, Jones was orphaned at age 2. He was raised by an aunt who was a nurse and an uncle who was a physician. He was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and earned his medical degree at the University of Illinois. He joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1969 and was the first African American to be given admitting privileges at the university hospital.

An avid art collector, Jones also served on the advisory committee for African and American Indian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Rodney Clark (1967-2006)

Rodney Clark, an associate professor of clinical psychology at Wayne State University, died late last month from a respiratory infection. He was 38 years old.

A product of the Detroit public school system, Clark earned his bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College. He held two master’s degrees: one in clinical psychology from Duke University, and the other in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke.

Dr. Clark’s research concentrated on the physiological effects of stress caused by racism.


Sibrina Collins was named director of graduate diversity recruiting at the University of Washington. Collins, who holds a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, was an associate professor of chemistry at Claflin College in South Carolina.

Renee R. Jenkins was elected vice president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She will become president-elect this coming October and assume the presidency of the 6,000-member academy in 2007. She will be the first African American to hold the post.

Dr. Jenkins is professor and chair of the department of pediatrics and child health at Howard University. She is also an adjunct professor of pediatrics at George Washington University.

Sherry L. Turner was named vice president for student affairs at Spelman College. She has been serving in the position on an interim basis since September. She came to Spelman in 2002 as assistant to the president and secretary of the college.

Dr. Turner is a graduate of Rhodes College and holds master’s degrees from North Carolina State University and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She also holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois.








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