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Jarvis Christian Out of
Default Trouble

Dear Editor:

The Aug. 5th issue of Black Issues In Higher Education features a story on the Sallie Mae default management project for historically Black colleges and universities. The story includes a list of the 14 HBCUs that participated in our default prevention initiative. However, we would like to make it clear that one of these institutions, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, is no longer required to submit a default management plan to the U.S. Department of Education.
The Sallie Mae default management team visited Jarvis on Dec. 3, 1998. At that time, Jarvis was included on the list of HBCUs with cohort default rates of 25 percent or more during the past three fiscal years. Since that time, and prior to the publication of our report, Jarvis successfully appealed to have its fiscal year 1996 cohort default rate lowered to below 25 percent and is no longer subject to the new law.
During our visit to Jarvis, we were very impressed with the substantial progress the college has made in reducing student loan defaults. Because of this hard work, Jarvis will continue to make great strides toward educating African American students in the years ahead.

Kenneth E. Redd
Senior Research Associate
Education and Student Loan Service

Service of Distinction

Dear Editor:

I am writing to first, congratulate you on your 15th anniversary edition of Black Issues In Higher Education. I can remember so vividly the work of Frank L. Matthews and William E. Cox in starting Black Issues, and the trials and tribulations they went through in making it a success.
Second, as a former college administrator involved in higher education for 21 years, I feel it imperative to inform you that your researchers missed a golden opportunity to give credit to one of the true contributors to diversity in higher education in the past 15 years. The person I speak of is Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, president of Florida A&M University.
Dr. Humphries is truly one our greatest contributors in the past 15 years because he not only fought the battle at Tennessee State University that resulted in the survival of that institution, but diversified it by absorbing the University of Tennessee at Nashville.
Dr. Humphries also has been able to do the same at Florida A&M University for the past 20-plus years that has resulted in that institution being named as the “1998 College of the Year,” by Time magazine.
Furthermore, Humphries was on the front line in the battle against Proposition 48 — a fight from which many of our educators backed away even when they knew the National Collegiate Athletic Association was wrong, as was proven this year. He knew Prop. 48 would result in the denial of educational opportunities for so many young men and women.
Finally, thanks for naming Dr. Johnnetta Cole and Dr. Norman Francis as people who made quality contributions to higher education in the past 15 years.

Dr. Joseph B. Johnson
Former President
Grambling State University 1977-1991
Talladega College 1991-1998

Race, Gender and Title IX

Dear Editor:

How can the same publication that salutes Black women in soccer (see Black Issues, Aug. 5) and extols the virtues of the Women’s National Basketball Association attack Title IX, blaming it for a so-called race-gender conflict?
Black Issues does Title IX and female athletes a disservice when it suggests that equality of opportunity for women comes at the expense of Black men in the article, “Collegiate Athletics Highlights” (see Black Issues, Aug. 19).
Let’s set the record straight. Title IX does not require institutions to cut men’s sports. Some schools have decided on their own to cut certain men’s sports programming rather than spread the wealth more equitably among all sports. Football and basketball budgets consume a whopping 69 percent of the average Division I-A school’s total men’s athletic operating budget.
It’s also inaccurate to assume that men’s basketball and football are funding sports for women  —  or other male athletes for that matter. The majority of football and men’s basketball teams spend more money than they generate. A 1997 study shows that 55 percent of Division I-A and I-AA football programs don’t generate enough revenue to pay for themselves, much less any other sports. These programs reported annual deficits averaging $1.06 million and $657,000, respectively.
Finally, the piece suggests that Title IX’s chief beneficiaries have been White women. What about the young Black women who shine in the WNBA, who your publication notes are the “majority of the league’s players?”
Without Title IX, those women would not have had the opportunities to develop their talents in elementary, secondary or postsecondary schools, which every athlete knows are critical to paving his or her way to the big leagues.
The fact is that despite Title IX’s impressive and highly publicized successes, much more work remains: female athletes have 37 percent of the opportunities to play intercollegiate sports, 38 percent of athletics scholarships and 23 percent of athletic operating budgets. The playing field is far from level for female athletes, an issue that your publication should be highlighting rather than constructing a false, zero-sum game.

Verna L. Williams
Vice President and Director of Educational Opportunities
National Women’s Law Center
Washington, D.C.


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