New Look HBCU Digest

It happens at least once a year, right?

Most of you should have received an email alerting you about the change to the HBCU Digest subscription platform, but if you didn’t, here’s the new platform. It promises to yield a lot more content presented in a cleaner fashion for archiving and a more flexible system for purchasing and managing subscriptions. I truly hope you enjoy it.

Regrettably, in making sure that no one got billed by Patreon ever again, all of my articles from the past 12 months are in purgatory somewhere. It hurts the heart, but it has happened before and I’m hopeful I will be able to retrieve them and add them to this platform.

On to today’s news.


Where is Grambling State’s Library?

The University of Louisiana System has revealed its wish-list for capital projects across its nine-member campuses. The Daily Advertiser reveals details on the construction planning, which for Grambling State University, contains a notable omission.

  • Tornado recovery at Louisiana Tech (no amount is given as calculations are underway, according to the ULS proposed capital outlay budget);

  • $105,000 to address elevator deficiencies at Grambling State University;

  • $800,000 to replace the roof of the University of New Orleans' geology and psychology building;

  • $200,000 for HVAC emergency repairs to Walker Hall at the University of Louisiana at Monroe;

  • $258,859 to upgrade restrooms for ADA compliance in Stopher Hall at Nicholls State University;

  • $1 million in campus-wide major repairs at UL Lafayette;

  • $250,000 to replace the roof of Fournet Hall at Northwestern State;

  • $700,000 for a roof replacement on UNO's Bicentennial Education Center;

  • $850,000 to re-roof various buildings at Grambling State;

  • $2.5 million for comprehensive ADA assessment and remediation at Louisiana Tech

It has been nearly three years since GSU abandoned its library, and while the school secured funding to design and even broke ground a new digital library concept, there’s been no public information on when construction will actually begin on the new facility. A campus library is more than books at HBCUs; it is part of the social, cultural and academic training culture of the institution — and that’s without mentioning the library as a requirement of accreditation.

If the lack of a usable library facility is not an emergency, I’m not quite sure what is. And I’m not quite sure why Grambling State leadership, students and alumni haven’t made the same inquiry?

Norfolk State Launches Workforce Development Partnership with Ferguson Enterprises

Norfolk State University’s School of Business recently entered a memorandum of understanding with plumbing and HVAC manufacturer Ferguson Enterprises, that will create curriculum collaboration, internships and potential jobs for NSU graduates

Communities Mourn Student Deaths at Alcorn State, Fort Valley State

Three students were killed in separate crimes in Port Gibson, MS and Fort Valley, GA this week. Two Alcorn State University students, James Carr, 19, of Itta Bena, and Tahir Fitzhugh, 22, of Pennsylvania, were killed during an off-campus event and Fort Valley State University student Anitra Gunn was found dead days after being reported missing.

Texas Southern Alumni Work to Reinstate Ousted President

Texas Southern University regents fired former president Austin Lane in controversial fashion a few weeks ago, and alumni of the university are working to reverse the decision and to remove some of the executives who helped to finalize it.

The Houston Chronicle reports on the alumni mobilization effort, which they say is growing to ensure leadership at one of the nation’s largest public HBCUs, and to also ensure that the board’s actions do not run afoul of accreditation standards.

There is a growing opposition to the ouster among alumni. More than 6,000 people have signed a petition calling for Lane to be reinstated, and at least two letters have been drafted to send to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office, asking for assistance.

Victoria Gray, who started hashtags #IStandWithDrLane and #RemoveTheRegents, said that grassroots movement will only grow stronger.

“This didn’t seem right. You take those gut feelings and then you do your research,” said Gray. “We are moving.”

Dr. Lane’s reinstatement is highly unlikely, and the only thing more likely than his staying fired will be the board standing by the reasons for his dismissal they laid out in his unprecedented and publicly-released termination letter.

Even if Texas Governor Greg Abbott were to intervene and replace some or all members of the board, the act itself would be an instant violation of accreditation standards; the same kind of violation of which some TSU alumni are accusing the current board. It may be unpopular, and it may be with reasons that are open to wide interpretations from supporters and of Lane and the board alike. But the ultimate truth is that nothing overwhelmingly positive for TSU will come from graduates attempting to reverse the decision.

The best hope? Donate more, become more knowledgeable of operational procedures and governance rules, and be prepared for a better shot on technical elements of board action.

Morgan State to Offer Degree Programs in Ghana

Morgan State University’s Board of Regents earlier this month unanimously approved the launch of three degree programs in partnership with the African University College of Communications in Ghana.

According to officials, it is the first memorandum of partnership to be developed by a historically black institution in Ghana, and part of the university outlook to build an international pipeline of student talent.

“Over the past five years, we have been very interested in Africa and have been eyeing expansion into new markets. We look forward to piloting these three academic degree programs in Ghana, and if this initiative is successful in attracting top-notch students and awarding them highly valued Morgan degrees, we will consider establishing a more physical presence in Africa,” said Morgan State President David Wilson.