President’s Advisory Board Proposing 10 Percent Spending Increase for HBCUs President Bush’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities was prepared to discuss increasing the federal spending of HBCUs by 10 percent with the president during a visit to the White House last month. However, with the president’s attention increasingly occupied by international security matters, Bush apologized for his lack of time and the group’s meeting was cut short.
“We understood that and appreciated him for coming,” says Dr. Benjamin Payton, advisory board chairman and president of Tuskegee University.
The advisory board, most of whom were in town for the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference, had planned to propose to Bush that HBCUs receive 10 percent of each (governmental) department or agency’s total spending to all institutions of higher education. For example, in fiscal year 2001, the Department of Health and Human Services gave $14 billion to institutions of higher education. HBCUs received approximately $230 million.
The 10 percent resolution, Payton says, is an effort to end the pattern of spending discrimination HBCUs have historically and continue to face. “HBCUs have deliberately been underfunded, and in some cases, not funded at all,” Payton says.
Prior to the group’s meeting with Bush, Secretary of Education Dr. Roderick Paige, in addition to representatives from various government agencies, met with the advisory board. Payton presented to Paige the following key points on enhancing the federal spending for HBCUs:
l Each designated federal department or agency should establish one or more dedicated HBCU program(s) that increases the capacity of the institution to meet its academic, faculty development, research and community service mission;
l The president should support several bills pending before the Congress which would strengthen the “capacity building” function within HBCUs and provide needed funds in critical areas; and
l The president and the administration should adopt a longer term goal of providing 10 percent of each department or agency’s spending to all institutions of higher education to the HBCUs.
Payton says they did not submit the report to President Bush at the meeting but plan to do so once it is modified in the upcoming weeks. The advisory board is scheduled to meet at Tuskegee University in Alabama later this fall.
President Bush named the 21-member advisory board earlier this year to strengthen links to the private sector and increase HBCU involvement in federal grants and contracts. Members of the panel were sworn in at a White House ceremony in February. The president established the board through an executive order, calling on Cabinet agencies to identify and carry out activities to improve HBCUs through several means including the designation of a senior official to work with HBCUs and a requirement that federal departments submit an annual plan to improve HBCU linkages.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the HBCU conference was held in Crystal City, Va., Sept. 15-18.
For a complete listing of board members, see Black Issues, March 14. — By Hilary Hurd Anyaso
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