Diversity laws kill HBCU identity

When asked whether they attend a historically black or traditionally white university, many students are confused because they don’t know how to answer.

HBCUs were founded to provide schooling for blacks when denied admission into majority institutions.

It gave them a place to be educated by their people- professionals who actually cared about their betterment.

New programs and laws requiring historically black colleges and universities to increase the amount of diversity on their campuses have blurred the lines that used to be very stringent and clear.

Legislators are now trying to take away one of the main things that elevated the black status in the United States.

They say that there must be more diversity in the faculty and student body to create a better learning environment, for better preparation for the “real world.”

So, because whites aren’t coming out of their universities ready, black students have to suffer?

Unnoticed by most school officials is the fact that many HBCUs have curriculum supporting gay, ethnic or women’s studies- they are well rounded.

If they want college students to be prepared, the lawmakers must go to where the problem is – the traditionally white universities.

For example, FAMU is flushed with students from different ethnicities: Egyptian, Indian, Jamaican, Spanish, etc. It would be hard to walk a day on and campus see nothing but blacks.

On the other hand, it might be easier to do at Miami University (Ohio), because minorities only constitute eight percent of their student body and 10 percent of their faculty.

Traditionally white universities aren’t being forced to diversify their campuses as much as their counterparts. No one is breathing down their backs like at Tennessee State University where they were recently mandated to increase their white student body to 50 percent.

Now there’s nothing wrong with interacting with people of different backgrounds, because we live in a multicultural society. But to command historically black universities to enrich the white college experience is wrong.

When HBCUs are forced to change their mission and have higher white enrollment, they’re in essence changing their identity and character.

In fact, black enrollment at historically black colleges and universities had only grown 26 percent from 1976-1994, whereas the white population had increased by nearly 70 percent.

Nine supposed HBCUs have a white enrollment greater than 25 percent, and four of the initial historically black colleges have become majority white institutions.

The world may never benefit from figures such as W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr or Thurgood Marshall if these schools are continually being altered.

So just leave these HBCUs alone.

Dominique Drake for the Editorial Board.