HBCUs are rising in popularity, and this is a great thing for the Black community, our nation, and the world. HBCUs offer a unique environment that supports Black students and their success. When I visited the campus of Tennessee State University several years ago, I took a virtual mission to Mars and met an engineering graduate student who developed a device to help her son navigate with low vision. These innovations in teaching and research are among the many reasons HBCUs are attracting more students of all backgrounds.
When Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover was called to defend her university's decision to take on an extra 2,000 students this fall, she was met with unjust scrutiny and disrespectful derision from a state senator. These senators should be addressing the underfunding of HBCUs, not denigrating the rise in HBCU enrollment. Black students need HBCUs now more than ever. To suggest that an HBCU like Tennessee State University should limit its access to deserving students when the state has the resources to support them is simply unacceptable.
We should be celebrating the rise in HBCU enrollment rather than attempting to limit it. HBCUs are a critical part of our national fabric. It's time we recognize how much our nation would benefit from increased access to the quality education that HBCUs provide. We must continue to advocate for increased funding and support for HBCUs, so that all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
If you are as appalled as we are about lawmakers denigrating HBCUs, join our fight. Write your local representatives and let them know how you feel and connect with your local NAACP unit.
Dr. Ivory Toldson
Director of Education Innovation and Research