The 2020 HBCU Presidents’ Resolution: Write More Than Last Year
At church Sunday (1/5/2020), my pastor Rev. Shawn Anglim at First Grace United Methodist Church talked about a resolution he has made every year for the past 16 years- to stop saying unnecessary things. He says he has failed every year, but every year he fails a little less.
A 2019 Resolution for HBCU Presidents: Write at least one editorial
Every year I make sure that writing is one of my objectives. I tell folks I hate going to conferences and meetings…
Last year I made a resolution for my colleagues to write at least one editorial in 2019. I shared a number of quotes from presidents over the years saying we have to use our voices in the public sphere. My favorite was from Benjamin Elijah Mays, who in a 1951 article entitled “What’s Wrong With Negro Leaders,” wrote “the first thing wrong with all too many Negro leaders, whether on the local or national scene, is fear. Fear makes cowards of us all.”
Colleges are doing too little to combat the growing misinformation roiling our society (opinion)
And you may ask yourself, well ... how did I get here? -- "Once in a Lifetime," Talking Heads Facebook stopped making…
Recently Ryan Craig’s December 20, 2019 editorial for Inside Higher Ed reminded me of my resolution. He writes
The existential question facing higher education in 2019 isn’t about taking a political stand, or doing anything brave or controversial besides speaking out — vocally and repeatedly — for critical thinking, reason and sense. Colleges and universities stand little chance of making sense to students when they’re continuing to base their value proposition on sense but are too blinded by their parochial interests to defend it.
University Presidents-Speak Out!
Columbia University. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) Ad Policy In May 1943, James B. Conant, the president of Harvard…
His article links a POWERFUL piece by Scott Sherman for The Nation in February of 2013, “University Presidents — Speak Out! Where are their voices on the major issues of the day?” At a minimum I hope every college and university president reads this article- applies to us all. The article contains a number of biting quotes:
Sherman: “Think about it: When was the last time a college or university president produced an edgy piece of commentary, or took a daring stand on a contentious matter?”
Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus (2010): “Once upon a time, university leaders were seen as sculptors of society.” Now they “are chiefly technocrats, agile climbers who reach the top without making too many enemies or mistakes.”
Jonathan Cole (2009): “Presidents have done a very, very poor job of using the bully pulpit for higher education… There aren’t many presidents who are fighting against the powers that be.”
Theodore Hesburgh (2001): “We cannot urge students to have the courage to speak out unless we are willing to do so ourselves.”
So, if you know an HBCU president, send them this article and ask them to join me in writing an editorial this year. Look, in education everyone thinks they are an expert. People write all the time about HBCUs who have never held any meaningful leadership position in one, or engaged in serious study.
We’re the experts and we have to see framing HBCUs accurately as part of our job (among a million other things I know). But if everyone does just one we would begin to develop a body of work based on those doing the work.
And yes, you’ll get criticized. Heck I get beat up because I am expected not to challenge the most immoral US president in my lifetime because during his tenure Congress and the Department of Education forgave our Katrina loan (he signed a 600+ page bill which included it but he didn’t know about the forgiveness until we sent him the press release) while at the same time doing long term damage to black folks.
I believe Mark 8:36:
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? KJV
or the Message translation
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Nothing. So find something else to be mad at me about.
A number of my colleagues did write last year so allow me to highlight some of their writings:
Michael Sorrell, Paul Quinn College (writes every year)
Like roses growing in concrete, impoverished kids can blossom with the right education
To live in poverty is to live your life in pain. It is the pain that comes from being marginalized. It is the agony of…
David Wilson, Morgan State University (also writes every year)
HBCU 'attributes' encourage high achievement
Many broad-minded people still hold implicit biases that assign excellence to the Harvards and Stanfords of the world…
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Spelman College
Remembering Donald Stewart, sixth president of Spelman College
According to our AJC archives, Stewart's appointment spurred controversy on the all-female campus as students wanted a…
Dr. Ruth Simmons, Prairie View A&M University
Opinion | The Harvard case on considering race in admissions is a victory for diversity
Ruth Simmons, who as president of Brown University from 2001 to 2012 was the first African American to serve in that…
Elwood Robinson, Winston-Salem State University
Elwood L. Robinson: Life-changing stories begin at access universities
On May 10, the world witnessed an incredible moment. Winston-Salem State University honored Elizabeth Barker Johnson, a…
Larry Robinson, Florida A&M University
FAMU's story is still being written | Opinion
Florda A&M University President Larry Robinson (Photo: Special to the Democrat) The Florida A&M University story is one…
Herman Felton, Jr., Wiley College
If HBCUs Are Truly Safe Spaces, Then Why Don't We Have an Openly Gay President? | The HBCU Digest…
Official Post from The HBCU Digest: By: Herman J. Felton Jr. For the first eighteen years of my life, I felt…
Ronald Mason, University of the District of Columbia
An Open Letter: America's Real Education Scandal
Dear Secretary DeVos: I was encouraged to see that in response to the current college scandal you called for all…
C. Reynold Verret, Xavier University of Louisiana
Xavier president: Child care in New Orleans should be top priority
Recently, an editorial in this newspaper explained investing in early childhood education as an easy sell in this…
James E. K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College
Meharry Medical College accepted JUUL's $7.5M grant with eyes wide open | Opinion
CLOSE Meharry Medical College accepted e-cigarette maker JUUL's grant to do independent research and serve underserved…
And here are a couple of mine (I did about 7 not including my blog posts). This first one was about a fight I had with Forbes. They ended up altering the story and the editor of this section called me (cool brother). But some things I can’t let go. This is one.
It's important to get facts about HBCUs right (opinion)
I have always been of the mind-set that not everyone speaks numbers. People often take numbers and manipulate them to…
I still do expert witness work in hazing cases and there has been a lot of news in Louisiana recently.
Here's how to end hazing. Maybe.
Historically, Louisiana has been one of the weaker states in terms of hazing legislation, with most offenses resulting…
And risk sharing was a big topic in 2019. Here was my take.
Arguing for risk-sharing for student loans is similar to saying gyms are responsible for patrons'…
In 2012, I moved to New Orleans. One of the things people talk about in New Orleans is the food -- how good it is and…
So share this piece with your HBCU president (heck share it with any president). And let’s agree to write a little more than last year!
Happy New Year!