Posted on December 15, 2008

Merging Colleges a Harmful Measure

Lynn Huntley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 15, 2008


Georgia’s public HBCUs have been and are a lifeline for underserved, low income black students. Combining HBCUs with traditionally white colleges would likely result in a net loss of higher education opportunity for underserved blacks and a reduction in diversity in higher education faculty, trustees and administrators.

Assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, a merger would dilute the mission and unique role that HBCUs play. There are lots of traditionally white schools and few HBCUs. HBCUs’ distinctive missions, history, outreach and programs should be preserved. No “one size fits all” approach is appropriate. Let’s preserve diversity in higher education, not reduce it. {snip}

Moreover, the traditionally white institutions in question are, in the view of many, of lesser quality than the HBCUs with which they would be merged. We ought not compromise quality. If the concern is to ensure that all Georgia students attend integrated institutions of higher education, closure of the traditionally white campuses that were opened after the HBCUs in question had functioned for many years seems to be the most promising and equitable option. Closing those schools rather than the HBCUs would promote integration, save money, preserve diversity in course offerings and point of view, and ensure that blacks can continue to receive a good education in historic institutions designed to meet their needs.