by Yvette Carnell
In a conversation with writer Pascal Robert, he challenged me to find one president who has done more damage to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) than Barack Obama. I was at a loss. On BreakingBrown, we’ve discussed the damage done to HBCUs by the Obama administration here, here, here and here, but let’s just lay it out once more:
- Due to a unilateral decision by the White House, the number of PLUS loans granted was unexpectedly cut in half.
- This policy change forced 28,000 HBCU students to drop out, and cost schools $150 million.
- Howard University, the wealthiest HBCU with an endowment of around $460 million, has found itself in financial crisis.
- This is what happened: In what United Negro College Fund President Michael Lomax calls a “nasty surprise” , the Obama administration “has begun denying student loans to disproportionately large numbers of black parents because of blemished credit histories.”
- “I do predict several HBCUs will close,” said Jarrett Carter, editor of HBCU Digest. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”
And before you accuse Republicans of being worse than Obama, read this executive order from Ronald Reagan on HBCUs. Obviously, our current Ivy League president doesn’t share Reagan’s enthusiasm.
Obama Has Done More to Destroy HBCUs Than Most Republican Presidents, But Black Folk Still Love HimClick to tweet
This is a stunning reveal, because it demonstrates that Obama hasn’t just ignored black people. He has damaged black people, and black life as a consequence. Robert counts himself among those who expected Obama to do nothing for black people, but he never expected Obama to take actions detrimental to the black community in general, and black institutions specifically.
Before you go saying that Obama is not the president of Black America, consider that from a pure political perspective, there is no denying that Obama could not have won the White House without a high black turnout in 2008, especially in Southern states like Virginia and North Carolina. And where is the exchange for that vote? All Obama has done is tear down HBCUs, wag his finger at Morehouse grads during their commencement, preach at CBC members about putting on their marching shoes, and toss a little charity in the direction of black boys.
So if you have to admit that even Reagan was more charitable to HBCUs than Obama, then the question becomes… what was it all for? If you still have that “Yes We Can” horizon bumper sticker on the back of your car, now’s a good time to rip it off. I doubt if anyone will even notice.