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HBCUs

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

Alumni and staff of Morris Brown College are still pushing to regain accreditation.  The historically black college lost it more than a decade ago, in large part due to financial woes.

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Some Morris Brown supporters showed their loyalty at one of the school's regular cleanups Wednesday. Volunteers repainted parts of the campus and worked on other projects the college can’t get to on its limited budget.

Now-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press file

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she is a "strong supporter" of historically black colleges and universities.

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In a statement released late Sunday, DeVos said she would "continue to be an advocate for them and for programs that make higher education more accessible to all students."

 

Benjamin G. Brawley Hall on the Morehouse College campus.
Alison Guillory / WABE

New leaders at Morehouse College say the past is behind them. Conflict within the school’s ranks led to the recent ouster of President John Wilson and the shuffling of leadership positions on the board of trustees, including chairman.

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"Part of the change is: how do we move from some levels of dysfunction to a higher level of collaboration in terms of working together?" said Trustee Dale Jones.

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Morehouse College has new leadership. The board of trustees voted to remove President John Wilson last week.

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The trustees voted in January not to renew Wilson's contract when it ends in June. The former president drew mixed reactions from faculty, students, and alumni. Some didn't like his decision to cut 150 staff members in an attempt to balance the budget. Others credited Wilson with increasing fundraising and boosting enrollment.

Allison Diaz / Associated Press

Jasmine Guy just can’t seem to stay out of college.

She first gained national attention as an actress for her role on "A Different World," a TV series following a group of students at a fictional historically black college. Now Guy is in a new series premiering Feb. 1 on BET. "The Quad" is also set on the campus of an imagined HBCU, though this time she’s playing a faculty member instead of a student.

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A group calling itself “Morehouse Alumni,” has launched an online petition asking the Board of Trustees to oust the school's president. The document says Morehouse is in “great turmoil,” and blames President John Wilson Jr.'s  administration for alienating alumni, a drop in enrollment and poor fundraising efforts.

Martha Dalton / WABE

Feeling accepted at college can be a big issue — especially for minority students. Even on campuses with high minority populations, it’s easy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students to feel isolated. That’s why The Human Rights Campaign is urging inclusiveness of LGBTQ students at historically black colleges and universities.

Bernie Sanders speaking at Morehouse during the Feel the Bern rally.
Al Such / WABE

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at Atlanta’s Morehouse College on Tuesday night. The campaign stop was part of his "Feel the Bern" tour of historically black colleges and universities.

Sanders gained steam after a strong showing at the Iowa caucus and a win at the New Hampshire Democratic primary earlier this month. But he’s still trailing Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton when it comes to attracting African-American voters.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

In September 2015, WABE sent our reporters out to find out one thing: "What defines Atlanta, exactly? Do we have a unique identity?" You can read the rest of the stories here.

Atlanta is home to the largest group of historically black colleges and universities. So how do they fit into the city’s culture and history? Students at the Atlanta University Center ─ which is made up of Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College ─ in southwest Atlanta offered their viewpoints. 

Spelman College

Behind the Ranking

W.A. Harewood / Associated Press

 

A new president has been chosen to lead Clark Atlanta University.

School officials said in a statement that the dean of Texas Southern University's business school, Ronald A. Johnson, has been elected president by the university's board of trustees and will begin in his new role July 1.

Clark Atlanta officials say Johnson earned a degree in economics and an MBA from Adelphia University, and earned a masters and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

Officials say Johnson replaces Carlton E. Brown who is retiring June 30.

Martha Dalton / WABE

The U.S. needs more engineers and scientists, according to the White House. So it sent its director of science and technology to Atlanta’s Spelman College Wednesday to get some ideas.

Programming robots is just part of what the SpelBots do. The Spelman robotics team also conducts research and does community outreach.

“We’ve been using the robots to do things like outreach to children, students at middle schools, just kind of introducing robotics to them, as well as competing,” says senior Daria Jordan.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

Several U.S. colleges have seen declining enrollment since the recession began. But changes to a federal loan program in 2011 have hit some historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, especially hard.

Clark Atlanta sophomore Jasmine Johnson says waiting for a loan to be approved can be stressful.

“My freshman year when I got here, I didn’t have enough money because my Parent PLUS hadn’t been approved yet,” she says.  

The Parent PLUS is a federal student loan.

Otis Threatt / 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc

This weekend, the 26th annual Atlanta Football Classic kicks off inside the Georgia Dome. The South Carolina State Bulldogs will meet the North Carolina A&T Aggies for the annual event featuring historically black colleges and universities.

But the annual event is more than just a game and entertainment.

Some will come for the game and others for the marching bands. And that’s exactly what organizers of the Atlanta Football Classic expect.

But, there’s another reason that comes to Bill Lamar’s mind when he sees a packed Georgia Dome.

The Greater Community Foundation of Atlanta

Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Tatum was one of four recipients of the 2013 Carnegie Leadership Award Monday in New York City. 

According to the Carnegie Corporation, the award goes to exceptional presidents of U.S. colleges and universities. Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian said Tatum was an obvious choice.

“She is a force of nature, a powerful individual, with a determined plan, a vision, and also in many ways promoting science among African-American women,” he said.