So they invited me to attend the Minority Broadband Summit hosted by ADE down in D.C. this past week, (Shout out to the ADE staff and the great work they did. I keep telling these people that I am not a real journalist) and I got a chance to meet and hang out with some cool people. Props to Roland Martin from CNN. Dude is alright but he has got to let me hook him up with my clothes guy....let me stop. I met and chatted it up with folks like the former mayor of Houston, Lee Brown, and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas. I also have to give props to all the people who attended and to the man who organized the entire thing, Julius H. Hollis.
Still, one of the real reasons I went was because I knew that my best friend from law school would be there. Antonio Clayton is the chairman of the board of the largest HBCU in the country and he ran a Jedi on these folks as well because they thought he was important enough to invite.
We met and hung out a little bit and got caught up on all the happenings. When it was time for him to speak my man actually broke some news which is what I really want to blog about tonight.
Seems the governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, has decided that it would be best for the folks in Mississippi to merge some of the HBCU's into one school. I guess he has been channeling his inner Wendell from Get On The Bus. Remember Wendell? He hated those "nigger schools" didn't he?
Well, I have news for Haley Barbour and the Wendell's of the world; those "nigger schools" educate more than half of the black professionals in this country, and schools like Xavier in New Orleans produce more successful African American medical school applicants than Harvard and Johns Hopkins combined. So no doubt that it is important to keep these schools alive for the purpose of educating our children. I think on that we can all agree. The key is that they don't fall prey to mismanagement and poor fiscal policies that has plagued some of these schools in the past.
So now, I ask you, why would the governor of Mississippi want to close some of the HBCU's in his state? Well, after listening to Tony's speech, I actually looked up the story to try and find the reasoning behind Barbour's position, and here is what I found:
"Under Barbour's plan, no campuses would close but Alcorn State and Valley would be merged into Jackson State. Each of the smaller schools is roughly 100 miles from Jackson. Barbour said the merger would save money by reducing administrative costs and eliminating academic duplication. He also wants to consolidate Mississippi University for Women with nearby Mississippi State University. The governor said the restructuring could save the state $35 million out of a nearly $5.5 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.The black university presidents have made clear they want to remain independent."The governor's proposed budget cuts will change the face of higher education in Mississippi for decades," JSU President Ronald Mason said in a statement. Alcorn State President George Ross said the university leaders didn't find out about the plan until Monday."
Damn! He even wants to close down Mississippi Valley? Does he realize that's where Jerry Rice played ball? And does he realize that Steve McNair played at Alcorn State? And doesn't he realize that an HBCU produced his states most famous football player, Walter "Sweetness" Payton? His ass ought to be shipped off to Abu Ghraib right now. In all seriousness, what are all those proud alumni of these schools going to do? I sure hope they don't take this lying down.
And here I thought republicans wanted blacks to be educated. Why doesn't he merge Southern Mississippi into Ole Miss? I am just saying.
"Barbour said a state with about 2.9 million residents can't afford eight universities. He said Monday he's not worried about appearing racially insensitive with his proposal."
Of course not, republicans never care about such silly things as racial sensitivity. I sure hope the O man himself will have something to say about this, I know he prefers the Ivy League types, but the Ivy isn't for everyone.
Oh well, here is hoping that old Haley has a change of heart and drops this silly idea. Segregation and racism created the duel system of higher education in many southern states. And, unlike other aspects of racism, the end result of this has worked out just fine. Barbour should just leave it alone. He should try to find other ways to raise money for his state. And he could start by giving himself a pay cut.