HBCUs grow increasingly frustrated with Trump
Leaders of historically black colleges and universities met with White House officials this week amid ongoing tension with President Donald Trump. The annual National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference got off to a bad start when the Education Department issued a memo earlier this month saying the event had been canceled. White House officials later corrected that to say they’d simply shortened the schedule to two days instead of the normal three.
Adding to the frustration, Trump wasn’t even in Washington to meet with university leaders, who came to the capital during the president’s trip to the United Nations in New York. But the administration tried to soften that blow by finally naming an executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities: former National Football League player Johnathan Holifield, who writes and consults on the topics of innovation and inclusiveness.
Holifield said he would encourage HBCUs to contribute more to the U.S. economy.
“There is no path to sustain new job creation, shared prosperity, and enduring national competition without the current and increased contributions of historical black colleges and universities,” he told students as the annual summit began.
HBCU leaders are frustrated with Trump because he courted their support, inviting them to the White House for an Oval Office photo op earlier this year, but he hasn’t delivered on promises of increased support, including more funding for the schools. Interestingly, HBCU leaders leveled similar complaints against President Barack Obama, who didn’t do much to advance their agenda during his eight years in office. —L.J.