The Unfulfilled Promise of the Ayers Ruling

In 1975 Jake Ayers, the father of a black student, filed a lawsuit against the state system of higher education in Mississippi. He claimed that the system’s three historically black universities were not adequately funded compared to the state’s predominantly white universities. The case was litigated for nearly 30 years until the parties agreed upon a settlement in 2002.

Under the agreement in the Ayers case, the state agreed to provide $246 million to the state’s three historically black colleges and universities for the improvement of academic programs. Another $75 million was allocated for facility improvements at the three universities. To date, about $61 million has been spent on 12 building projects.

The settlement funds for academic purposes have produced about 30 new programs at the state’s three historically black universities. But the payments, which are $20 million this year, are scheduled to be reduced to $13.4 million in July 2012. The payments will then be slowly phased out over the next several years. Thus, the historically black universities are likely to face budget shortfalls as the state funds are reduced while they have to continue to support the new academic programs that were created with the Ayers settlement funds.

The state also established an endowment fund for the historically black universities. But the universities would not be eligible to access the funds until 10 percent or more of their student bodies were nonblack for three consecutive years. But only one of the three historically black schools has met the requirement for attracting nonblack enrollments of 10 percent or more. Alcorn State University, through extensive recruitment of foreign students, was able to achieve the enrollment threshold.

Most troubling is the fact that the state was supposed to oversee $35 million in fundraising for private contributions to the endowment for the three schools. But almost nothing has been done to build the private endowment. The fund has a balance of only $1 million.


The New President of Florida Memorial University

The board of trustees of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens has announced that Henry Lewis III will become the institution’s new president. Dr. Lewis is currently a professor and dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. A graduate of Florida A&M, Lewis earned a doctor of pharmacy degree from Mercer University in Atlanta.

Lewis was one of three finalists chosen for the presidency of the historically black educational institution.

Also considered for the position was Curtis B. Charles, the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Dr. Charles is a graduate of Howard University and holds a master’s degree in architecture from MIT. He earned an educational doctorate at Morgan State University.

The other finalist was Roslyn Clark Artis, executive vice president for academic affairs at Mountain State University in Beckley, West Virginia. She is a graduate of Virginia State University and the West Virginia University College of Law. She also holds an educational doctorate from Vanderbilt University.


Historically Black Delaware State University Adds Three Degree Programs

Delaware State University, the historically black educational institution in Dover, has announced the establishment of three new degree programs. The university has launched a bachelor’s degree program in forensic chemistry to go with the university’s bachelor’s degree program in forensic biology.

In addition, the university will offer master’s degree programs in food science and family and consumer science education.


Blacks Still Vastly Underrepresented in Faculty Ranks at U.S. Colleges

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education shows that blacks are not making significant progress in gaining faculty positions at U.S. colleges and universities. The report found that in 2009 there were 13,750 black faculty with tenure at degree-granting educational institutions in the United States. They made up just 4.6 percent of the nearly 300,000 tenured faculty members in this country.

African Americans did slightly better in tenure-track positions. In 2009 there were 8,687 black faculty on the tenure track. They made up 6.4 percent of all tenure-track faculty.

In 2009 there were 9,614 full-time black faculty in non-tenure or non-tenure-track positions. They made up 5.4 percent of all full-time faculty who were not on the tenure track.

The report, entitled Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2009, and Salaries of Full-Time Instructional Staff, 2009-10, can be downloaded by clicking here.


PhD Project Mounts New Effort to Increase Racial Diversity in Administrative Posts at U.S. Business Schools

Last month JBHE reported that since 1994 the Ph.D. Project had been instrumental in more than tripling the number of minority professors at the nation’s business schools. The PhD Project acts as an information clearinghouse and mentoring organization to African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians who pursue doctoral studies in business disciplines. The project, which is supported by a large number of corporations and foundations, steers minority students to organizations that can fund their doctoral studies.

Now the PhD Project is mounting a new effort to increase racial diversity in the ranks of department chairs and administrators at U.S. business schools. Project AHEAD (Achieving Higher Education Administration Diversity) aims to increase the number of blacks and other minorities who serve as department chairs, deans, and in other administrative posts. At the present time, about 3 percent of all dean positions at U.S. business schools are held by minorities.


In Memoriam

Charles L. Yates (1936-2010)

Earlier this month a memorial service was held on the campus of Virginia Tech to honor Charlie Yates, the university’s first black graduate. Yates died this past summer after a battle with leukemia at the age of 74.

Yates was the valedictorian of the Class of 1954 at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk. He entered Virginia Tech in the fall of 1954 but was not permitted to eat, room, or socialize on campus. Yates earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958, the first black student since Reconstruction to graduate from a publicly operated predominantly white university in a former Confederate state.

Yates went on to earn a master’s degree at CalTech and a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University, where he conducted research at the Applied Physics Lab for nearly two decades.

Yates returned to Virginia Tech in 1979 to teach mechanical engineering. He was named a professor of aerospace and ocean engineering in 1987 and served in that capacity until 2000. A residence hall at the university now bears his name.

Marion Brown (1931-2010)

Marion Brown, the renowned jazz saxophonist and former professor of music at several colleges, has died at a hospice facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 79 years old.

A native of Atlanta, Brown studied music at what is now Clark Atlanta University. He moved to New York City in 1962 and soon became a member of John Coltrane’s band. Brown became a key figure in what was known as the free jazz movement.

Brown taught at Bowdoin from 1971 to 1974. He later taught at Brandeis University, Colby College, Amherst College, and Wesleyan University, where he earned a master’s degree in ethnomusicology.

Earl Wilson Jr. (1932-2010)

Earl Wilson Jr., founder of the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation which raised millions of dollars to help send African Americans to college, has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 78.

Wilson sponsored an annual football game in St. Louis between two historically black colleges. The proceeds from the event has been funding scholarships for African-American college students. Since 1993, 120 students received scholarships from the foundation.

Wilson was a graduate of Lincoln University of Missouri and had a 26-year career with IBM.




Grants and Gifts

The Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute at historically black North Carolina Central University in Durham received a five-year, $7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. This is the largest sponsored research grant in the university’s history.

Fort Valley State University, the historically black educational institution in Georgia, received a $240,000 grant from the federal Office of HIV/AIDS Policy for prevention and intervention programs to combat HIV/AIDS.

Historically black Florida A&M University in Tallahassee received a three-year, $497,663 grant from the Gulf of Mexico Program to promote public awareness of the value of the Gulf and to work to restore and preserve the Gulf ecosystem.

The University of South Carolina received a $100,000 grant from the James E. Clyburn Research and Scholarship Foundation. The money will be used to fund scholarships for students in a five-year, dual degree program at historically black Claflin University and the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Considering the loss of more than 60 Democratics seats in the House of Representatives, do you believe Nancy Pelosi should have given up her leadership position?


African-American Scholar at the University of Chicago Finds Black Youth Are More Socially Conservative Than Young Whites

A new study conducted by Cathy Cohen, the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, presents evidence that black youth do not fit the stereotypical prototype often featured in the nation’s media. Professor Cohen’s research, published in the new book Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press), shows that black youth are more socially conservative than youth as a whole on issues such as same-sex marriage, premarital sex, and abortion. For example, 55 percent of black youth stated the opinion that homosexuality was “always wrong.” Only 35 percent of white youths agreed.

In addition, Professor Cohen’s data presents evidence that black youth are politically involved and are skeptical that America has entered a “post-racial” era. Young blacks were more likely than young whites to be critical of the message presented by rap music artists.



High-Ranking Universities Showing the Largest Gains in Black Freshmen in 2010

According to the 18th annual JBHE survey of black freshman students at the nation’s 30 highest-ranked universities, the vast majority of institutions posted gains in black first-year students compared to a year ago. The largest gain was at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. There are 92 black freshmen at Tufts this fall, an increase of nearly 59 percent.

Brown University comes in a close second with a 57 percent gain in black freshmen this year. This large increase moved Brown from dead last in the Ivy League in the percentage of black freshmen in 2009 to second place this year.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville also showed major improvement. The number of black students increased from 125 in 2009 to 179 this year, a 43 percent gain. Vanderbilt ranks second among the top 30 universities in the percentage of black first-year students.

Georgetown University also had an impressive gain of more than 40 percent.

Only eight of the top 30 universities reported a decline in black freshmen this year. At Dartmouth College, Rice University, and Wake Forest University, the declines were more than 10 percent.



The New Congress Will Have Two Black Republicans and No Black Senators

When the new Congress convenes in January there will be two black Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Allen West defeated Democratic incumbent Ron Klein in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, which runs along the Florida coast between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. West is a former high school teacher and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and holds master’s degrees from Kansas State University and the United States Army Command and General Staff Officer College. West has indicated he will join the Congressional Black Caucus, where he will be the only GOP member.

Tim Scott easily won election in South Carolina’s First Congressional District. Scott, an insurance agent, has been serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Charleston Southern University. Scott will not join the Black Caucus. He stated, “I think the best for America is finding a way to fuse all of our communities together and erase all those lines that separate us.”

It is also noteworthy that when the new Congress convenes in January, not one of the 100 members of the United States Senate will be an African American.


Record Enrollments at Historically Black Morgan State University

Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore, announced that there are a record 7,888 students on campus this fall. Undergraduate enrollments are up 7.5 percent this year and graduate enrollments have increased by 19 percent.

Race Relations on Campus Database

Periodically, JBHE Weekly Bulletin will publish a selection of racial incidents that have occurred on the campuses of colleges and universities. Here are the latest incidents:

• A group of food service workers at St. Leo University in Florida has filed a race discrimination lawsuit against the university and Sodexo, the university’s food service provider. The minority workers allege they are subjected to racial harassment on the job. The suit claims that black workers, or whites who associate with blacks, are given less desirable assignments. One black worker says that he was assaulted for openly celebrating the election of Barack Obama as president. (Hinterland Gazette, 10-11-12)

• A racial slur was written on a bathroom wall on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The slur was directed at a black student from Trinidad who was elected president of the freshman class. (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, 10-9-10)

• Kellen McClendon, an African-American professor at the Duquesne University law school in Philadelphia, has filed a federal lawsuit charging that he was denied a promotion because of his race. The suit claims that the university president and provost ignored his application for dean of the law school. (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 10-13-10)

• A white student at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, distributed a flier on campus that was headlined, “White and Proud.” When a symposium was held on campus concerning the flier, the white student showed up in a uniform with swastikas and was allowed to speak. He claimed “The National Socialist Movement is not about hatred, it’s about love.” (The Columbian, 10-18-10)

• Racial slurs were written across the entrances to two residence halls on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The graffiti called for the lynching of black students. (Wisconsin State Journal, 10-22-10)



Appointments, Promotions, and Resignations

Derrick A. Corbett was appointed professor of military science at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. Corbett recently completed his second tour of duty in Iraq as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Transportation Corps.

Corbett is a 1993 graduate of South Carolina State University. He holds a master’s degree in logistics management from the Florida Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in military art and science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Kansas.

Avis Hinkson was named dean at Barnard College in New York City. She has been serving as director of undergraduate advising at the University of California at Berkeley.

Hinkson is a 1984 graduate of Barnard College. She holds a master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University and an educational doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Leonard Gaines Jr. was appointed assistant dean for assessment and institutional effectiveness at Schenectady County Community College in New York. He was director of assessment at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

A graduate of Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Gaines holds master’s degrees from Phillips Theological Seminary and the State University of New York at Binghamton. He earned an educational doctorate at Oklahoma State University.


Honors and Awards

Shirley E. Thompson, associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin, won the $10,000 grand prize in the university’s Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards competition. She was honored for her work, Exiles at Home: The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans.

Professor Thompson holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. She is currently working on a new book entitled No More Auction Block for Me: African Americans and the Problem of Property.

Freddie L. Richards, dean of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, received the 2010 George Washington Carver Agricultural Excellence Award from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Dean Richards is a graduate of Alabama A&M University. He holds a master’s degree from Tuskegee University and a doctorate in agricultural education from Pennsylvania State University.

Denis Mukwege, director of Panzi Hospital in the city of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, received the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan. Dr. Mukwege was honored for his work helping victims of sexual violence.

Margaret Carter, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Human Services and former counselor at Portland Community College, was honored with the designation as an Alumni Fellow at Oregon State University. Carter, who earned a master’s degree at Oregon State, was the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon House of Representatives.



Copyright © 2010. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.