A few weeks ago we brought to you breaking news out of North Carolina, where the state legislature was planning to make major changes that affected three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the state. The three HBCUs included in Senate Bill 873 also known as the Access to Affordable College Education Act, were Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University and Winston Salem State University.
The bill was aiming to “make college more affordable” for those living in North Carolina. The bill would reduce tuition to $500 a semester and potentially change the name of these institutions. As you can imagine, there was an outcry from the students, alumni and the community about what was taking place. Many started strategizing on how to stop the bill from passing.
Members of Divine Nine organizations from each of the campuses, under the leadership of WSSU National Alumni Association president Dr. Patti Sanders Smith, went to Raleigh to meet with Senator Tom Apodaca, the bill’s constructor. The NAACP also spoke out against the bill and called it “a back door attempt to drive the black schools into bankruptcy.” Other critics of the bill claimed that it would cheapen degrees from the HBCUs.
After being branded a racist and getting major pushback, Senator Apodaca dropped the three HBCUs from the bill. He told WTVD: “I’m at the point now that if they aren’t willing to be in this bill, I will take them out.”
It feels great to see our community and together to protect the legacy of HBCUs and show folks that they should never come for us. So who wants next with us?