Harvard Hiring Freeze Could Present Big Opportunity for Other Universities to Attract Black Scholars

Due to the budget crunch resulting from a 22 percent or more drop in the value of the Harvard University endowment, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University has suspended all searches for tenured and tenure-track faculty appointments. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is facing cuts of as much as $125 million from its $1.2 billion operating budget.

With Harvard currently no longer in the market for lateral hires of top-flight black scholars, other universities may have an easier time drawing black academics to join their faculties. And perhaps more important, the pay freeze in place for African Americans who now serve on the Harvard faculty may prompt other universities to make raids on Harvard’s faculty ranks. Black scholars at Harvard may receive lucrative offers from deans at other universities who know that Harvard will now not be able to match their offers due to the imposition of a pay freeze.

One must always keep in mind that Harvard is famous for making rules, but rules with exception. In the end, the university tends to operate under the exceptions rather than the rules. JBHE sees a distinct possibility Harvard’s recruiting of black academics may continue to go forward under the traditional exception practice.


Confederate and Civil Rights Memorials Will Share Space in a New Park on the Campus of the University of Louisville

For more than 100 years a statue of a Confederate soldier has stood on the edge of the campus of the University of Louisville. An inscription reads, “A tribute to the rank and file of the armies of the South and to our Confederate dead.” The elected government of Kentucky never joined the Confederacy although sections of the commonwealth that were under the control of the Confederate Army did form their own government for a period during the Civil War.

Now the state and university are developing a one-acre park on the site that will showcase exhibits commemorating the civil rights movement along with the statue of the Confederate soldier. The area will be called Freedom Park.



Commission to Study Possible Hate Speech Codes at the University of North Carolina

Racist graffiti targeting Barack Obama was written on a wall at North Carolina State University. The graffiti called for shooting “the nigger in the head.” As a result, Erskine Bowles, president of the University of North Carolina System, has formed a commission that will determine if a new hate speech code should be implemented. Currently, there are no hate speech codes on University of North Carolina campuses.

The commission will be headed by Harold L. Martin Sr., a senior vice president for academic affairs of the university system. In addition to making recommendations on whether codes against hate speech are warranted, the commission will also study whether mandatory diversity training should be implemented during freshman orientation programs.


Students Mount Protest Over Dormitory Conditions at Historically Black Shaw University

Students at historically black Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, recently held a protest in the lobby of the administration building. More than 100 students gathered to protest what they said were deplorable conditions in student dormitories. Some dormitory rooms, built for two students, now have five occupants. Students said the dorms were infested with mold, the bathrooms are rarely cleaned, and some plumbing fixtures do not work. Some of the students in the protest wore duct tape over their mouths with the words “rats” and “ants” written on them.

University president Clarence Newsome met with the students and told them he will work to address their concerns. But he added that some of the problems were due to the fact that as many as 500 Shaw students had not fully paid their bills for the current semester.


Howard University College of Medicine Celebrates 140th Anniversary

The Howard University College of Medicine recently celebrated its 140th anniversary. Howard continues to award medical degrees to more African Americans than any other medical school in the nation. In 2007, 77 African Americans graduated from the Howard medical school. The medical school at the University of Maryland had the second most African-American graduates. Maryland graduated 35 African-American doctors, less than one half as many at the medical school at Howard.

Since 1977 the Howard University College of Medicine has trained 50 female surgeons. The prestigious Johns Hopkins University medical school has trained 21 female surgeons since 1893.


Black Enrollments Inch Higher at Penn State

Total enrollments at all campuses of Pennsylvania State University have reached a record 92,613 students. This is 2,000 more students than were enrolled a year ago. Enrollments have increased at 11 of the 19 Penn State campuses.

African-American enrollments are up 4 percent from a year ago. Blacks are 4 percent of the 37,000 undergraduates at the main campus near State College, Pennsylvania. Enrollments of all underrepresented minority students constitute 13 percent of the student body.

University of Colorado Seeks to Increase Student Diversity

The University of Colorado has hired Daniel Graham, a tight end for the National Football League’s Denver Broncos, as a minority student recruiter. Graham recently signed autographs and talked to 550 students at a college fair about the advantages of attending the University of Colorado.

This year there are 403 African-American students on the Boulder campus. They make up 1.6 percent of the undergraduate student body. Blacks are about 4 percent of the population in the state of Colorado.


Charles Ogletree Premieres New Film on the Tulsa Race Riot

Charles Ogletree Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor at Harvard Law School, is the co-producer of a new documentary film, Before They Die, which tells the story of the 1921 Tulsa race riot and urges that reparations be paid to the African-American survivors “before they die.”

Professor Ogletree has served as the chief legal adviser to the survivors of the race riot in their effort to obtain reparations.

The riot occurred in the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was known as the “Black Wall Street.” Spurred by rumors that a black man had assaulted a white woman in a downtown elevator, whites rampaged through the black neighborhood, burning 30 city blocks to the ground. As many as 300 African Americans were killed.

Readers interested in learning more about the documentary can do so by clicking here.


Norman Francis Celebrates 40 Years as President of Xavier University

On the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, Norman Francis accepted an offer to become president of Xavier University, the historically black educational institution in New Orleans. He still holds that office and is the longest-tenured university president in the United States.

Recently President Francis was honored at a star-studded gala in New Orleans featuring Gladys Knight and Bill Cosby.

Francis, now 77 years old, is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana. His father was a barber. He graduated from Xavier University and earned his law degree at Loyola University. He served for 11 years as Xavier’s dean of men, before becoming university president.

In 2006 Francis was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.


New Research Center Opens at Jackson State University

The Center of Excellence for the Study of Natural Disasters has opened at Jackson State University, the historically black educational institution in Mississippi. The center, made possible by a six-year, $6 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security, will study the effects of damage and the enhancement of recovery efforts after hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.


Two Black Universities Placed on Probation by Accrediting Agency

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has placed historically black Alabama A&M on accreditation probation for one year. Texas Southern University, a historically black educational institution in Houston, will remain on probation for another year. The accrediting agency cited institutional finances as the reason for the probations at each school.

The universities’ accreditation will be reviewed again next year. The loss of accreditation would mean students at these schools would be ineligible for federal financial aid.


Honors and Awards

• Candice M. Jenkins, an associate professor of English at Hunter College of the City University of New York, received the Williams Sanders Scarborough Prize from the Modern Language Association. The prize is awarded for outstanding scholarly study of black literature or culture. Professor Jenkins was honored for her book Private Lives, Proper Relations: Regulating Black Intimacy, which was published by the University of Minnesota Press.



• Florida A&M University, the historically black educational institution in Tallahassee, received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will fund the information assurance program at the university which includes research on privacy, information protection, and national security.

The University of Tennessee received a $350,000 grant from the PepsiCo Foundation to support diversity efforts at the university’s College of Business Administration. The funds will be used for scholarships, career fairs, tutoring, peer mentoring, and leadership development for minority students.

• Delaware State University, the historically black educational institution in Dover, received a $355,573 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will be used to enhance the high-performance computing and high-bandwidth research network in the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology.

Liberal Arts Colleges With the Highest Black Student Graduation Rates

New data from the U.S. Department of Education reveals that there are 10 highly selective liberal arts colleges in the United States that have a black student graduation rate of at least 86 percent.

The highest black student graduation rates occur at Amherst College and Williams College, the two liberal arts institutions that currently are tied in first place in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of liberal arts colleges. At both schools the black student graduation rate is a very high 93 percent.

Wellesley College, Davidson College, and Swarthmore College all have black student graduation rates of 90 percent or more.

The other four liberal arts institutions with the highest graduation rates are Smith College, Wesleyan University, Lafayette College, and the College of the Holy Cross.


“The SAT is not an intelligence test, and aptitude is going to be strongly affected by opportunity. And the difference in opportunity between the rich and poor is almost unimaginable.”

Tom Parker, dean of admission and financial aid at Amherst College, in the Boston Globe, 11-24-08


Emory University Establishes New Online Database of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Emory University in Atlanta has debuted its new online Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. The database allows scholars to search for information on nearly 35,000 trans-Atlantic voyages between the 16th and 19th centuries.

The database identifies more than 67,000 Africans aboard slave ships. Scholars can search using variables such as name, age, gender, origin, and place of embarkation. Or, researchers can search by the name of the slave ship or can call up listings of voyages that occurred in a specific year or time frame.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, which provided a grant to help fund the project, stated, “The greatest mystery in the history of the West has always been the Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the New World. Their ancestries, their identities, their stories were lost. This site has done more to reverse the Middle Passage than any other single act of scholarship possibly could.”

Readers who want to access the new Emory database on the Atlantic slave trade can do so by clicking here.


Black Student at Macalester College Wins Caribbean Rhodes Scholarship

Last week JBHE reported that three African Americans won prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University. But there is a fourth black student who won a Rhodes Scholarship.

Michael Waul, a senior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, won the only Rhodes Scholarship awarded this year to a resident of a Caribbean nation. Waul, a native of Jamaica, is majoring in biochemistry at Macalester with a minor in geography. At Oxford, Waul will pursue a two-year master’s degree in medicinal chemistry.


Johns Hopkins University Pulls Up the Welcome Mat for Confederate Groups

For the past 20 years the Maryland chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans have held a rally and march in Baltimore’s Wyman Park. Scores of people, some of whom are dressed in Confederate Army uniforms, sing Dixie. Wreaths are placed at the foot of monuments dedicated to Confederate heroes. Every year after the rally, members of the two groups went across the street to a reception in a building on the campus of Johns Hopkins University.

Not anymore.

The university told the two groups that they would no longer rent them a space for their reception. “We choose not to have the Confederate battle flag carried across our campus,” said a university spokesman. Particularly offensive to the university was the fact that the rally was scheduled in the same week as the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and just days before Barack Obama’s inauguration as the nation’s first black president.


Students at Canadian University Cut Off Fundraising for Disease They Mistakenly Believed Afflicts Whites Only

The student association at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, decided to end its sponsorship of a fundraising campaign for the cystic fibrosis foundation. The association issued a statement which read, “Whereas cystic fibrosis has been recently revealed to only affect white people and primarily men, be it resolved that the association discontinue its support of this campaign.”

The racial reasoning for discontinuing the fundraising is disturbing. Equally disturbing is the fact that the information on which the students made their decision is false. Men and women of all races are afflicted with cystic fibrosis.

After a public uproar, the decision to discontinue the fundraising effort was reversed.



Tennessee State University Bans Access to Internet Gossip Site

The Web site JuicyCampus.com enables university students to post uncensored and anonymous comments on just about any topic. In order to post a comment, the entry must be sent from an e-mail account registered at the particular institution. Many of the posts are sexist, homophobic, or racist. A large number of posts on the site name women who are deemed sexually promiscuous or provide details on the length of a male’s sex organ. When JBHE visited the JuicyCampus.com site recently we found hundreds of posts that contained the word “nigger.”

JuicyCampus.com has become the twenty-first century equivalent of graffiti on the inside walls of a bathroom stall.

Now Tennessee State University, the historically black educational institution in Nashville, has become the first publicly operated university to ban access to the JuicyCampus.com Web site for students on its campuswide computer network. The ban came about after a parent of a Tennessee State student complained that a post of the site called for students to beat up her daughter.

Hampton University, a private historically black educational institution, had previously banned access to the site from its computer network.


Students Aim to Impose Dress Code at North Carolina Central University

Paul Quinn College, a historically black educational institution in Dallas, has a dress code for students on campus. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, all students are required to dress in “business casual” attire. This mean that students are not permitted to wear jeans, flip-flops, T-shirts, tank tops, or sneakers.

Now the student government association at North Carolina Central University in Durham is mounting an effort to police student attire on campus. Cards will be printed and given to students that show what is, and what is not, acceptable in the classroom. The student association wants to discourage students from wearing pajama pants, do-rags, and hats while attending class.


44.7%  Percentage of white parents of fifth-grade students who report that their child does schoolwork at home five or more times per week.

55.4%  Percentage of African-Americans parents of fifth-grade students who report that their child does schoolwork at home five or more times per week.

source: U.S. Department of Education



• W. Franklin Evans was appointed vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Union University in Richmond. He was the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Dr. Evans earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in higher education administration at Georgia State University.

• Deborah Stanley-McAulay was named chief diversity officer at Yale University. She had been serving as director of Yale’s Organizational Development and Learning Center. She has been an administrator at Yale since 1995.

Stanley-McAulay is a graduate of Virginia Union University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport.

• Adelheid Eubanks was appointed director of the Center for Excellence in Global Education at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was director of the liberal arts studies program and an associate professor of language and literature at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina.

• Calvin Hawkins, a judge for the superior court in Lake County, Indiana, was named to the board of trustees of Huntington University in Indiana.


Copyright © 2008. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.