2001 A Year in Review
2001 is a year most Americans will not forget. The year the United States experienced its worst act of domestic terrorism, claiming the lives of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 people. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, college communities across the country united to understand the national tragedy. On the heels of the attacks, congressional offices on Capitol Hill were shut down as anthrax-contaminated mail prompted thorough testing and cleanup of some of the congressional offices, delaying the completion of education funding bills. In addition, lawmakers debated legislation that would make it more difficult for foreign students to enroll in U.S. colleges and universities. The events of Sept. 11 affected all aspects of American life.
Although the terrorist attacks and the subsequent retaliation in Afghanistan dominated the headlines for the latter part of the year, there were many significant events and milestones in higher education throughout 2001.
Lawsuits against universities for using race as a factor in admissions continued to keep schools such as the universities of Michigan, Georgia, Washington and Texas in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the University of Texas’ Hopwood case, as well as the University of Washington’s law school case. Many in the education, legal and civil rights communities believe it’s just a matter of time before the high court will have to hear one of the cases, with the University of Michigan’s cases being the most likely.
In addition, Republicans and Democrats truly started off the year on the wrong side of the aisle as some Democrats, including Congressional Black Caucus members, criticized the GOP’s plan to assign historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Hispanic-serving institutions, to a subcommittee that also oversaw juvenile justice and child abuse — separating the minority-serving institutions from other postsecondary education programs. The dispute was settled following national exposure and pressure from the CBC.
As monetary donations to higher education institutions continue to increase, the California Institute of Technology received $600 million from Intel co-founder, Gordon Moore, making it the largest donation to date to an institution of higher learning.
There are certainly many more significant events to list, but following are some highlights from 2001.
IN ACADEMIA/NATIONAL EVENTS
n Members of the Congressional Black Caucus announce they will boycott congressional education hearings following the House Education Committee’s decision to assign minority-serving institution programs to one of two new subcommittees under which juvenile justice and child abuse also fall and away from other higher education programs. Organizations such as NAFEO, as well as leaders from HBCUs and HSIs, criticize the plan, saying the shift means second-class status for minority-serving institutions. Eventually, the GOP and Democrats settle the dispute by giving both subcommittees “jurisdiction” and “oversight responsibility” for HBCUs and HSIs.
n The University of Georgia marks the 40th anniversary since the university was desegregated. UGA renamed the Academic Building, where the first Black students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes registered for classes, the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building.
n Two popular Dartmouth University professors, a married couple, Half and Susanne Zantop, were found murdered in their off-campus home in Hanover, N.H., shaking the close-knit Dartmouth University community.
n Westley Moore, a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and College, is one of 32 American men and women to be named a Rhodes Scholar. Moore is the military academy’s first Rhodes Scholar.
n Texas Gov. Rick Perry appoints the first Black woman to the University of Texas System Board of Regents. The nomination of Dr. Judith Craven to the UT board marks continuing efforts to diversify a board and university system that has historically been viewed as a White male bastion.
n Howard University opens a Human Genome Center, the first to be launched at a minority-serving institution in the United States. The center will focus on genetic research that has major health implications for people of African descent.
n Jackson State University’s women’s golf team becomes the first squad from a historically Black college to advance to the NCAA regional championships.
n Black Issues In Higher Education reports in its Top 100 undergraduate edition (June 7) that for the first time a traditionally White institution, the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the No. 1 producer of Black engineers — the result of a successful partnership with historically Black Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse, Morris Brown and Spelman colleges.
n The National Policy Summit on Science, Mathematics and Technology Education for African American Students held in Reston, Va., examines public policies that affect the education of Black students and outlines a series of policy recommendations that aim to generate better math and science outcomes among Black students. The two-day summit was sponsored by Black Issues In Higher Education.
n Florida A&M University ties with Harvard University as the No. 1 recruiter of National Achievement Scholars, the nation’s top African American high school students, according to a report released by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
n University of Wisconsin students in March protest an anti-reparations advertisement placed in its school newspaper by David Horowitz. Similar protests follow at several campuses across the country.
n Although the College Board reports that the largest and most ethnically diverse group of students take the SAT this year, the scoring gap between White and Asian American students compared with underrepresented minorities persists. Earlier in the year, Dr. Richard Atkinson, president of the University of California, said America’s overemphasis on the SAT is compromising the educational system.
n The Law School Admissions Council reports that U.S. law schools are experiencing the largest increase in applications since 1991, with approximately 79,000 people applying to American Bar Association-approved law schools. African American applicants grew by 4.3 percent.
n Virginia State University’s Board of Visitors in August votes to dissolve the elective faculty council and replace it with an appointive university council composed of faculty, staff, administrators and students.
n Dr. Charles H. Rowell, editor of the African American literary journal Callaloo relocates the journal in September from the University of Virginia to the campus of Texas A&M University, sending shock waves through UVA’s English department.
n Faculty, staff and administrators at North Carolina Central University decide to forgo the $625 raise given to all state employees this year in efforts to help the university manage an approximately $1.6 million loss in state funding.
n Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, anthrax-contaminated letters were mailed to, among others, Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., on Capitol Hill. The contamination closes some of the congressional office buildings and a post office located in the District of Columbia. Washington-based Howard University’s main mailroom and eight sorting facilities also were closed temporarily after samples from the main mailroom tested positive for evidence of anthrax spores. Retesting produced negative results.
n Members from two Auburn University fraternities are suspended in November because members dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and blackface. Other members, in blackface, wore Afro wigs and T-shirts with the letters of Omega Psi Phi, one of four predominantly Black fraternities at Auburn.
n In light of the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. lawmakers debate legislation that would make it harder for foreign students to enroll in U.S. colleges and universities.
n The University of Texas at Austin in January asks a federal court to speed up the appeal of a lower-court ruling that bars race-conscious admissions at public universities. The U.S. Supreme Court later in the year refuses to hear the university’s challenge to the Hopwood decision. The university recently announced that it was finished fighting the Hopwood case.
n A federal judge overseeing Mississippi’s long-running college desegregation suit says historically Black Jackson State University cannot justify the need for a law school.
n After a judge in a federal court in Detroit upheld the University of Michigan’s use of race in undergraduate admissions in December 2000, many members of the academic community, as well as national leaders, express disappointment and shock after a U.S. District Judge in Detroit ruled that the University of Michigan’s race-conscious law school admissions policy is unconstitutional. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati was scheduled to hear both cases in December.
n The U.S. Supreme Court decides not to review the University of Washington’s law school affirmative action case letting stand a federal appeals court ruling on the law school’s now-revised admissions policy.
n The University of California regents in May repeal their ban on affirmative action, hoping to send a welcoming message to Black and Latino students. However, the move is largely symbolic as California voters passed Proposition 209 in 1996, which continues to prohibit race-conscious policies in the state.
n Mississippi agrees to end more than a quarter-century of legal battles over the desegregation of its higher education system, reaching a $500 million settlement. The landmark Ayers lawsuit was filed in 1975 to desegregate the state’s public colleges and universities. A number of the plaintiffs, including Lillie Ayers, widow of Jake Ayers who filed the lawsuit, have attempted to opt out of the agreement and pursue a separate lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr., of Oxford, charged with overseeing the long-running case, refused in November to let them do so. Lillie Ayers, as well as others, decided to appeal Biggers’ decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the issue is not about money, but that the settlement doesn’t address admission standards or add programs that the Black institutions need to provide a quality education to all Mississippians.
n The U.S. Supreme Court declines to take the appeal of a Confederate flag-carrying spectator who had been asked to leave a University of Mississippi football game in 1999.
n A federal appeals court in August declares unconstitutional an admissions policy at the University of Georgia, which awarded race-based points to borderline students. University regents decide not to appeal ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court.
n Howard University alumnus and trustee Frank Savage pledges $5 million to his alma mater, making it the largest donation from a Howard alumnus to date.
n Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in March receives a record $360 million pledge from an anonymous donor. It was the largest gift ever to a single U.S. college or university at that time.
n The Maryland Institute College of Art receives the largest gift in the school’s history, $6 million, from an African American couple, Eddie and Sylvia Brown. The grant is to go toward a new academic building.
n The California Institute of Technology in October receives two gifts totaling $600 million, half from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty, and half from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Together they are the largest donation ever to an institution of higher learning.
n Grambling State University president Dr. Steve Favors resigns in January, after Louisiana Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle concluded that the university’s books were too messy to audit.
n Dr. Adam W. Herbert, then-chancellor of Florida’s public university system, resigns in January after a three-year term during which he helped institute Gov. Jeb Bush’s plan to end the use of race in university admissions.
n FAMU president Dr. Frederick Humphries stuns the academic community by announcing in February his resignation effective June 30, 2001. However, Humphries agrees to stay on until the end of the year. Humphries has been praised for attracting some of the brightest scholars in the nation to FAMU and for significantly increasing the university’s enrollment. In November, Humphries announced he will head the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO).
n Dr. Louis Sullivan announces in August that he will step down as president of Morehouse School of Medicine after more than two decades at the helm of the school. Sullivan will turn over the presidency to Dr. James R. Gavin III in June 2002.
n University of Michigan President Lee Bollinger announced in October that he will become the next president of Ivy League Columbia University. Bollinger has received national attention for his role in Michigan’s battle to preserve its admissions policies. Dr. B. Joseph White, former dean of Michigan’s business school, was appointed interim president.
n Dr. Audrey Forbes Manley, the eighth president and the first alumna president of Spelman College, announces her retirement effective July 2002.
— Compiled by Rachel Green
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com