Will Lawrence Bobo and Marcyliena Morgan Return to Harvard?

In 2004 Lawrence Summers, who was then president of Harvard University, decided to overrule the African and African-American studies department’s unanimous decision to award tenure to Harvard’s African-American scholar, Professor Marcyliena Morgan. In denying tenure to Morgan, Summers triggered the departure of Professor Morgan and her husband, the esteemed black sociologist Lawrence Bobo, to Stanford University.

Now reliable sources at Harvard University have informed JBHE that interim president of Harvard Derek Bok has approved the appointment of Marcyliena Morgan to a tenured position at Harvard. This will enable Harvard to actively recruit Morgan and Bobo to return to Cambridge.


“When segments of the population are missing in the classroom, it’s less than what we consider to be ideal.”

Susan Wilbur, director of undergraduate admissions for the University of California at Berkeley, commenting on the 10th anniversary of the ban on race-sensitive admissions at the university, in USA Today, May 5, 2007


Black Colleges Hit Hard by New NCAA Sanctions for Poor Academic Performance of Student Athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has begun to get tough on college sports teams that do not graduate their athletes. And black colleges and universities are facing the toughest sanctions.

Teams that do not graduate at least 60 percent of their athletes risk penalties that would eliminate up to 10 percent of the athletic scholarships they are able to offer under NCAA guidelines. The loss of athletic scholarships makes it difficult for the penalized teams to compete against teams from peer institutions that are able to recruit a greater number of athletes.

The latest calculations for the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate show that 81 teams nationwide will be penalized. This is only a fraction of the more than 6,000 teams participating in NCAA Division I athletics. But HBCUs are bearing a disproportionate share of the penalties. These black colleges do not have the resources of their predominantly white peers for extensive tutoring programs and other academic services whose aim is to help college athletes navigate through their academic programs.

Nineteen teams at 10 different HBCUs face a loss of scholarships. Five different teams at Texas Southern University face penalties. Three teams at Southern University in Baton Rouge will lose scholarships.

The situation may get a great deal more severe in coming years. The NCAA granted waivers to 50 black colleges and universities that could have been penalized but, for the time being, were not sanctioned.


Dartmouth Begins New Program to Increase Participation of Blacks and Other Minorities in Theater Productions on Campus

The department of theater at Dartmouth College has launched a new program that will stage an annual production focusing on issues of particular relevance to minority students on campus. The program — Voices: The Dartmouth Theater Visiting Artist Program — will bring an accomplished minority artist to campus to collaborate on a production that addresses issues of racial or ethnic diversity. Participating artists of color may include actors, directors, or playwrights.

The administration hopes that the initiative will increase minority student participation in theater department activities on campus.


Ward Connerly Says UCLA’s “Holistic Admissions” Program Is a Proxy for Race-Sensitive Admissions

In an effort to increase diversity in the student body, the UCLA administration adopted a new admissions model that incorporates a so-called “holistic” approach which looks at academic merit in the context of a student’s position in society.

This year there were 392 African Americans admitted to UCLA, up from 249 a year ago. This is a whopping increase of 57 percent. In 2006 blacks were 2.1 percent of all students admitted to UCLA. Blacks are 3.4 percent of the students accepted for admission. Preliminary data shows that there will be 203 black freshmen at UCLA this coming fall, about twice the number as last year.

Ward Connerly, the African-American businessman who led the fight to ban race-sensitive admissions at the University of California, believes that UCLA is using the new plan simply as a means to admit more black students. He notes that black students admitted to UCLA this year had SAT scores that were on average 293 points below the average score of admitted white students. This is up from a 255 point gap last year.

Connerly points to evidence that black applicants may be the primary beneficiaries of holistic admissions. The University of California rates all high schools in the state on their academic performance on a scale of 1 to 10. Blacks from the schools with low ratings of 1 or 2 saw their acceptance rate at UCLA jump from 12 percent to 27 percent. But white students from these low-performing high schools actually had a decline in their admit rate to UCLA.

“UCLA is looking at nonacademic factors primarily for black students,” Connerly said.


Fairfield University Alumni Seek to Increase Racial Diversity on Campus

Like many of its peer institutions affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Fairfield University in Connecticut does not have a large number of black students. The latest Department of Education figures show that blacks make up only 2.2 percent of the student body at the university.

Each year the alumni association of the university holds the Fairfield Awards Dinner to raise money for the Alumni Multicultural Scholarship Fund. This year the dinner raised over $800,000 for the scholarship fund. Since 1988 the endowment fund for the multicultural scholarship fund has grown to $8 million. During this period the percentage of underrepresented minorities in the Fairfield student body has risen from 3 percent to 12 percent. Minorities were 18 percent of this year’s freshman class.


Executive Seeks to Offset the Damage Done by Opening Up Black-Only College Scholarships to Low-Income Students of All Races

The Davis-Chambers Scholarships have provided money for black students to attend state-operated colleges and universities in Nebraska. In 2005, 51 black students were enrolled in Nebraska colleges under the Davis-Chambers scholarship program. The program is named after Dick Davis, an Omaha insurance executive who gave the seed money for the endowment fund, and Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers, who sponsored the legislation creating the scholarship program, which is partially funded by the state.

The Davis-Chambers Scholarship Program has been a major success. Students who have received the scholarships have had a higher grade point average than students generally in state-operated colleges and universities. And 63 percent have gone on to graduate from college within six years, a rate far superior than the statewide average.

However, to ward off potential litigation regarding this race-based scholarship fund, recently the state opened the scholarship program to low-income students of all races. So Dick Davis is mounting a fundraising campaign to double the size of the endowment so that at least as many black students will be able to receive funds as was the case under the black-only scholarship program.


In Memoriam

Harding Bernette Young (1922-2007)

Harding B. Young, the first African-American faculty member at the Georgia State University School of Business, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease late last month at his home in Atlanta. He was 85 years old.

Young was a native of Rosston, Arkansas. In 1955 he graduated from Harvard University and stayed on in Cambridge to become the first African American to win a doctorate in business administration from Harvard. After teaching at Clark Atlanta University, in 1969 he joined the business school faculty at Georgia State University.

Mike Mescon, dean emeritus of the business school, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “When I brought him in, diversity wasn’t that prevalent. Dr. Young shattered more stereotypes in five minutes than many can in 50 years. He was the gold standard. He was the best.”

Young remained on the faculty at Georgia State until 1988. During his tenure he counseled three U.S. presidents on minority business development issues. He also served as a corporate consultant on racial diversity.

Roland Hayes Davis (1927-2007)

Roland H. Davis, a long-time administrator at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, died late last month at his home on Long Island. He was 80 years old.

Davis was a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and spent one year at Case Western Reserve University before enlisting in the Army in 1946. After 20 years in the armed services he resumed his education at Hofstra in 1966. He went on to earn a master’s of social work degree from Adelphi University.

At age 52 he became director of community relations and affirmative action at Hofstra. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 2001. During his tenure he served as organization president for the 100 Black Men of Long Island.



• Henry Louis Gates Jr., Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, received the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in African and African-American Scholarship from the National Arts Club.

• Deryl F. Bailey, associate professor of counseling and human development in the College of Education at the University of Georgia, was honored by the Georgia chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives for his founding of the Empowered Youth project which provides tutoring and guidance for youths from kindergarten through high school.

• Joseph Monroe, dean of the college of engineering at North Carolina A&T State University, received the Distinguished Former Student Award from the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. Monroe was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M.

• Evelyn Gates, a former oil company executive who now teaches kindergarten in Texas, was awarded the Dartmouth Prize for Exceptional Teaching. Graduating seniors at Dartmouth College may nominate one of their former K-12 teachers for the award. The award comes with a $3,000 cash prize.

• Kevin Quashie, chair of the department of Afro-American studies at Smith College, was awarded the Kathleen Compton Sherrerd and John J.F. Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching. The award is given to Smith College faculty members who have compiled “distinguished teaching records and demonstrated enthusiasm and excellence.”

• John Mayes, director of sports medicine and athletic trainer at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, received the Bill Chisolm Professional Service Award from the National Athletic Trainer’s Association’s Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee.

A graduate of Texas Southern University, Mayes holds a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M.

• Lucille Clifton, distinguished professor of humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, received the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation. The award comes with a $100,000 cash prize. Professor Clifton is the first African-American woman to win the award.




New Limit on the Number of Students to be Admitted to the University of Texas Under the State’s Racial Diversity Rule

In the 1996 Hopwood ruling the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals outlawed race-based affirmative action for admissions to state-operated colleges and universities in Texas. Black admissions to the flagship campus of the University of Texas at Austin dropped by 20 percent in the first year after the Hopwood ruling.

In response, the Texas legislature adopted a “10 percent plan.” Under this admissions procedure, the top 10 percent of each high school graduating class in Texas was guaranteed a spot in the first-year class at a state-operated university of their choice. Thus, 10 percent of the graduating class at all the predominantly black high schools in Dallas and Houston were guaranteed a place in the freshman class at the University of Texas at Austin or at any other state university. The top 10 percent of the class at rural, predominantly black high schools in East Texas were also guaranteed a place at the University of Texas campus of their choice.

Now 70 percent of all students admitted to the prestigious campus of the University of Texas at Austin qualify for admission due to the 10 percent plan. This leaves few spaces for very well-qualified students who finish in the top 20 percent of their class at high schools with rigorous academic curricula. The bottom line is that white students from top-quality suburban high schools with good grades and test scores are being shut out from places at the flagship state university because the 10 percent rule obliges the University of Texas at Austin to admit students from often lower-quality (predominantly minority) high schools who have significantly lower grades and test scores. Critics of the 10 percent rule believe that the admissions program is lowering the overall academic quality of the students at the University of Texas.

Now the Texas state Senate has passed a bill that would permit state universities to cap enrollment under the 10 percent plan to 60 percent of all enrollments. This would open up more spots for high-achieving students who did not finish in the top 10 percent of their class. Most of these students will undoubtedly be white.

The Texas House of Representatives is expected to go along with the measure because it has passed similar proposals twice in the past.

The 10 percent rule has done little to increase racial diversity at the University of Texas at Austin. Today only 4 percent of the 38,000 undergraduates at the university are black, a level similar to what prevailed prior to the Hopwood case.


Pentagon Considering Ending Race-Sensitive Admissions at Preparatory Schools of the U.S. Military Academies

The latest figures show that blacks are about 6 percent of the student bodies at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy. At the U.S. Air Force Academy, 4 percent of the students are black.

About 40 percent of the black students who enroll at one of the U.S. military academies are initially recruited to attend a one-year program at a preparatory school where they are generally brought up to the academic standards of entering students. The academies have used these preparatory schools as an important tool to increase the racial diversity of their student bodies. Many recruited athletes at the military academies also attend these preparatory schools.

But now high-ranking officials in the U.S. Air Force have requested a policy change that would prohibit the academies from giving blacks and other minorities preference in admission to their preparatory academies.

The proposal to change the admissions procedures came to light at a meeting of the board of visitors at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In an unusual break within the ranks, the academy’s superintendent, Lt. General John F. Regni, voiced opposition to the proposed change. Officials at the Air Force Academy said that if the proposed rule were to go into effect, it undoubtedly would lead to a substantial drop in minority student enrollments.

The Air Force Academy reported that only 30 of the 1,060 students who will enter the academy this summer right out of high school are black. But the academy hopes to bolster the black percentage of the incoming class by admitting a large number of black students from the academy’s preparatory school.

Many career military officers have been firm supporters of affirmative action. They recognize the fact that they need a large group of black and other minority officers to lead the increasingly racially diverse armed forces. Generals Wesley Clark, Colin Powell, and Norman Schwarzkopf have all voiced their support for race-sensitive admissions in higher education.

But some high-ranking officials in the Pentagon appear to have placed conservative ideology in front of the military’s desire for greater racial diversity in its officer ranks.


Study Finds That African-American College Students Prefer Light-Skinned Blacks as Dating or Marriage Partners

Historically, light skin has been regarded as an asset in the black community. In the early years of the twentieth century almost all students at some of the nation’s prestigious historically black colleges and universities were light-skinned.

A new study, published in the journal Race, Class & Gender, shows that African-American college students continue to prefer light skin when looking for dating and marriage partners. Researchers interviewed black men and women at a predominantly white university in the Midwest about their preferences for dating and marriage partners. The study found that 64 percent of black men preferred light-skinned black women. Nearly a third of the black men interviewed said that skin color was the most important feature they were concerned with in choosing dating partners. Only 4 percent preferred women with very dark skin.

For black women, 64 percent preferred light-skinned black men and 30 percent preferred men with very dark skin. More than a quarter of the black women said skin color was the most important attribute they considered when choosing whom to date.


Langston University to Support Higher Education Initiatives in Liberia

Langston University, the historically black educational institution in Oklahoma, has signed a five-year agreement with Liberia, the African nation that was settled by a large number of former U.S. slaves. Under the agreement, students from Langston will study abroad in Liberia. Langston University will provide five scholarships for students from Liberia to study in Oklahoma. Langston will also initiate a cooperative relationship with Liberia’s Center for Agriculture Research and Development.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke at this year’s commencement ceremonies at Langston University.


How Higher Education Impacts Black and White Family Size

New census data shows that black families with higher levels of education tend to have smaller families than blacks where the family head has a low level of education. For whites, the opposite is true. White families with lower levels of education tend to have smaller families than their white counterparts with higher levels of education.

Here are the figures: For black families where the head was college educated, 14.4 percent had five or more members. For black families where the head was a school dropout who did not complete high school, 16.4 percent of all families had five or more members.

For white families where the head had received a bachelor’s degree, 11.9 percent had five or more members. For white families where the head was a school dropout, 9 percent had five or more members.


5.66  Infant mortality rate per every 1,000 live births to white mothers in 2004.

13.60  Infant mortality rate per every 1,000 live births to African-American mothers in 2004.

source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Federal Grant Will Enable Black College to Boost Total Enrollments by More than 65 Percent

Jarvis Christian College, the historically black educational institution in Hawkins, Texas, received a major cash infusion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. The college will receive $13.7 million in federal funds which it will use to build a new dormitory that will house up to 300 students. The new residence hall will allow the college to proceed with an expansion program that seeks to increase enrollment from 600 to 1,000 students over the next three years.



• Zelia Wiley, assistant dean of diversity at the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, was elected president of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences.

Dr. Wiley is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University. She holds a Ph.D. from Penn State.

• Oliver G. McGee III was named vice president for research and compliance at Howard University. He was a professor of civil engineering at Ohio State University.

Dr. McGee was the first African American to be named a full professor and department chair at Ohio State’s College of Engineering. A graduate of Ohio State University, he holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics from the University of Arizona. He also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.

• Benjamin J. Rawlins was named senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the deputy chancellor for legal affairs for the Oregon University System.

Rawlins is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. He holds a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a law degree from Georgetown University.

• Bobby Vassar was named rector of the board of visitors of Norfolk State University, the historically black educational institution in Virginia. Vassar, who has served on the board since 2003, is a graduate of the university. Vassar is majority counsel at the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C.



Copyright © 2007. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.