Following a two-day meeting with the Trump administration and reviewing Donald Trump’s executive order on HBCUs, Morehouse College President John Wilson Jr. issued a statement Thursday admitting that over 100 HBCU presidents went to the White House, and all they got was a cheesy Instagram photo.
Here’s an excerpt of John Wilson, Jr.’s statement:
Many had high hopes about this meeting. There was much advance chatter about it being “historic,” and there were many signals from key Trump administration officials that they would surprise HBCUs with favorable treatment. Given my experience in the Obama administration, I knew this would require an extraordinary announcement. Why? Because I knew that President Obama had invested $3 billion more in HBCUs in his first six years than President Bush invested in his final six years. Therefore, since President Trump pledged to “do more for HBCUs than any other president has done before,” we could have reasonably expected him to get started by announcing at least an additional $500 million to HBCUs…this year! And beside the expectation of new funding, there was advance talk of changes like an aspirational goal of 5 to 10 percent for federal agency funding to HBCUs, a special HBCU innovation fund, large boosts in Pell Grant and Title III funding, and extra tax breaks for those in the private sector who contribute to HBCUs. But, instead of the long-awaited executive order containing or signaling any of those outcomes, the key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House. It is not possible to measure the impact of this gesture anytime soon, if ever.
Wilson went on to share a statement made by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rubbed many in attendance the wrong way:
“They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
Wilson clarifies that DeVos is clearly ignorant to the fact that “HBCUs were not created because the 4 million newly freed blacks were unhappy with the choices they had. They were created because they had no choices at all.”
Wilson sums the meeting with Trump up as “a troubling beginning to what must be a productive relationship” and ensures the “HBCU community will continue to press for the kind of funding that educational excellence and national competitiveness require.”
To read John Wilson, Jr.’s full statement, see here.
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Robin is a digital content creator and has worked in the digital space for nearly ten years. "Robinrazzi" is a nickname given from a former colleague and is a perfect integration of her name and one of her greatest hobbies of having a camera in hand to capture once in a lifetime moments like paparazzi. She has traveled the world covering entertainment, celebrities, events and anything trending. She holds a BA in communications from Penn State and MS in marketing from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves as Digital Content Coordinator for WHUR.