White House National HBCU Conference 2017


The annual conference will be held September 17-19. The White House has confirmed that the conference will be going on despite many leaders asking for the events to be post postponed.

Rep. Alma Adams, representing the 12th District of North Carolina. In an open letter to Trump, Adams wrote, in part:
“In light of recent events, I have reached the unfortunate conclusion that this year’s 2017 National HBCU Week Conference should be postponed.”

“Earlier this month, my colleagues and I asked the administration for an update on their progress regarding HBCUs. In February, the president signed an executive order outlining greater investments and additional resources for HBCUs. It has become painstakingly clear that these promises are not being kept.”

“In this current environment, and with zero progress made on any of their priorities, it would be highly unproductive to ask HBCU presidents to come back to Washington. I call on the president and Secretary DeVos to postpone this year’s conference until a serious effort has been made to advance issues important to HBCUs and their students.”

Thursday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the three-day event remains on the calendar. We’re at capacity with (HBCU) schools and have an extensive waiting list,” said Sanders in response to a reporter’s question about the call to postpone. Sanders indicated that the list of historically black schools remain committed to attending. Although asked, she did not comply with releasing a list of schools that plan to attend.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and United Negro College Fund have both written open letters to the White House to call for the postponement of the event, with concerns about the lack of an executive director and presidential board of advisors to the White House Initiative on HBCUs to frame the conference agenda and legislative outline for HBCUs.

I personally feel that the White House administration changes their mind and postpone the conference in light of the rally that happened in Charlottesville, VA and Now the Hurricane Harvey and the damage its left behind in Texas. Having a conference to discuss little to no progress and broken promises can wait.

1 Comment

  • VMM Reply

    August 30, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Do tell me what does Hurricane Harvey have to do with a session on campus safety, or international experiences for HBCUs students, or funding opportunities with the National Science Foundation, or developing health programs in conjunction with HHS? Because by cancelling the conference you are cancelling several opportunities for HBCUS to engage and learn from these sessions.

    I understand the emotions and anger behind people towards this administration, but at the same time, you CAN NOT shoot yourself in the foot by demanding that opportunities like this be shut down out of protest. The conference has been going on for 2 decades and it is not now nor has it ever been a political conference. Of course figure heads appear to talk about what they have going on, but the meat of the event has always been about real time opportunities.

    Try not to get caught up in the furor, groupthink and sensationalism of protesting this conference and instead think about the real and immediate implications this has. In the meantime, if this is shut down, I can only imagine all of the other MSIs and PWIs who will take this opportunity and swoop in and go after those opportunities. Our students lose AGAIN.

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