Dear HBCU’s

Dear Historically Black Colleges & Universities:

A few weeks ago I listened to the Vice President of Student Affairs of a well-known HBCU as he spoke to my fraternity about using our leadership skills on the campus to help further mentor students who weren’t adjusting to what should be college life should be. He charged us with the task of helping make the college a place where students were hungry to achieve academically while building a healthy social life. “It’s what we must do when we have been given such power,” he said in closing.

While I strongly agree that when one is empowered, one must then empower others, I shook my head and rejected the challenge. What this man was attempting to guilt me into should have first began with the admissions office.

Do not attempt to convince the people your institution is relevant when you are accepting massive amounts of irrelevant students. Being an advocate for education, I believe everyone should be educated, but everyone does not deserve to be accepted into every institution. And while you, dear HBCU’s, are shouting to the people that you are equally competitive, and that your degrees are “just as great” as a degree from any other non-HBCU, I am shouting back that you are a liar. When you are knowingly accepting a less than desirable student who, in high school, demonstrates no academic promise, and whose reading level didn’t move on to 11th grade when the student did.

The dire need to create institutions to educate the underserved no longer exists. Not only does plenty of these institutions exist, but the underserved are being accepted into institutions that once denied them this right. This being said, why must you still feel the need to play the “only chance” role? As a freshman in 2000, having my education paid for by academic and community scholarships, I felt like one of the chosen people. Given the history of the school, it felt good to be among who I thought was also on their way to becoming something and someone great. In a conversation with another freshman, I told her I was there because of the school’s history, traditions, and because it recognized my skills, abilities and achievements. In response, she said “I came because I couldn’t get into anywhere else.” A massive amounts to respect was lost for the hallways and classrooms and buildings I walked between each day.

Dear Mr. Vice President, speak with your admission representatives. Speak with the board. Speak with the president. When the student body is full of students who care as much about education as their educational institution cared about them when their acceptance letter was drafted, then I will step up to the plate and mentor any student you send my way. Today, though, I will happily help reconstruct your admission requirements, as well as help pass out brochures to junior colleges and community colleges to those students who weren’t quite ready to leave high school or home.

I’m fully aware who this letter makes me out to be, and I am fine being that guy.

The Guy Who Attended Two HBCU’s,

Darnell Lamont Walker

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2 thoughts on “Dear HBCU’s

  1. I agree to some extent with your comment and at one time felt that an HBCU was not for me because they were not as competitive and I wanted to be an a classroom with students who worked to be there just as hard as I did. However, my ideas have slightly changed. Although an HBCU was not the choice for me I do commend their efforts on giving students who may not have been the best students in High School a chance. In high school sometimes minorities are not taught things that they are interested in or concern them. We spend 12 years of our lives learning that western society was superior, black people were slaves, and Spanish came as immigrants. Black History Month is the few weeks we learned that MLK, Malcolm X and maybe Mandela were freedom fighters that fought for us to have an education than its back to how Europe and Greece were the founders of everything.

    In an HBCU (For me it was an African Lit class in a PWI) you learn more about the culture and history that was taken from you with the support of peers who are similar and different from you. My friends that go to HBCUs tell me that school for them is more personal then it is in High school teachers actually care about your success and want to help you. Sometimes this is what a student who barely graduates high school needs in order to successfully graduate college and go on to bigger and better things that they may not have done without enlightenment in a higher education.

    Sometimes it is about going out on a limb and giving people a chance some people take it and some people don’t but for the people who do take the opportunity to change their lives around and then go on to help others it is worth it.

  2. I believe that HBCUs should have the same guidelines for acceptance as PWIs. How can a school with lower standards expect its students to perform as well as a school with higher standards? If you do make a few exceptions, let those exceptions be surrounded by students with high academic regard. If the masses are all low, who shall mentor and bring them up?

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