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The Trump Administration Says HBCU Funding May Be Unconstitutional

The Trump administration stunned black colleges with its claim that funding on race is unconstitutional.

Here we go again with the "reverse racism" argument, this time via the government's executive office itself! The Trump administration recently released a statement alleging that federally-backed funding for HBCUs is unconstitutional based on racial discrimination.

Per the official statement released via the White House, "Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program" is one of the programs that the administration will treat "in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment." The long-standing program provides funding for construction projects on the campuses of black colleges. 

This statement came as a shocking slap to the face for both White House representatives and the Education Department, which had been working on strengthening and maintaining its relationship with HBCUs. 

"The timing of this was crazy ... It totally blindsided the White House domestic policy staff and all of the key players on this issue, and it subsequently blindsided the HBCU community," said one of the sources with direct access to the situation. "It was a tone-deaf statement," the source also said, that black colleges saw as "literally attacking not just HBCUs but Native Americans," referencing a housing block grant program for Native Americans.

Johnny Taylor, president of the HBCU advocacy group the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said he had received assurances that "there was absolutely no plan to eliminate or challenge this program," and stated that the program in question doesn't allocate money on the basis of race, given the fact that historically black colleges also serve white and Latino students.

Despite these actions showing otherwise, Trump assured that he continues to support HBCUs, "The statement that accompanied my signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, sets forth my intention to spend the funds it appropriates, including the funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), consistently with my responsibilities under the Constitution. It does not affect my unwavering support for HBCUs and their critical educational missions."

Given the fact that finances are a priority in terms of challenges within the HBCU community, I suppose for now, we'll have to hope for the best as we wait to see exactly what Trump and his administration consider to be "unwavering support."

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