University overlooks observance of HBCUs

The White House Initiative on Historical Black Colleges and Universities is currently coordinating a national four-day conference, which started Monday, for National HBCU Week, but many Florida A&M University students are unaware of this event.

“I’ve never heard of this before,” said Ricquel Jackson, Senate President.

Leadership students such as SGA President, Andrew Williams, who also was unaware of this event, felt the Department of Education should have contacted FAMU for involvement.

“HBCU weeks sounds like something we would like to be involved in,” Williams said, “We’re always down for stuff like that.”

On the other hand, students like Jasmine Stephens, a third year business student, expressed her feelings of pride for FAMU’s receipt of recognition.

“As a student, I’m elated that FAMU is being honored nationally for its contributions to higher education for African American students,” Stephens said.

The mission is “to strengthen the capacity of historical black colleges and universities to provide excellence in education.”

Taking part in the conference are HBCU Presidents and Chancellors, Board of Trustees, HBCU Alumni Associations, and Student Government Association (SGA) leaders, according to the White House Initiative.

The Initiative’s website announced this year’s theme: “Established to meet a need, evolving with the times, essential for today and tomorrow,” which refers to the struggle to maintain tradition and remain an institution of higher learning, for all minorities.

Other guests attending this week’s conference include President Bush, Secretary of U.S. Department of Education, Margaret Spellings, Secretary of U.S. Department of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the esteemed National HBCU Concert Choir, as posted on the Initiative’s website.

HBCU week supports the Executive Order, which was first signed in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter.

It established a federal program “to overcome the effects of discriminatory treatment and to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education.” Since then, every president has issued an Executive Order for HBCU’s. 

Representatives like President James Ammons, will be presiding over the Science and Technology Issues and Opportunities portion of this special event.

The White House Initiatives of HBCU’s encourages black colleges and universities to schedule events to celebrate this special occasion and commemorate highlights of their institutions. Such activities can include raising awareness about the institution and National HBCU Week through local newspapers and radio stations, organizing campus forums, and student showcase highlighting the institution’s choir, band, clubs, fraternities and sororities.

For more information on 2008 National HBCU Week, go to or the White House Initiative website,