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NCCU Chancellor Says Duke Rape Case Highlights Need for More Student Financial Aid

The fact that the alleged Duke rape victim worked part-time as an exotic dancer is an indication that the federal financial aid system is lacking, North Carolina Central University Chancellor James Ammons told National Public Radio’s (NPR) News and Notes with Ed Gordon.

“This may be an opportunity for us to take a look at our financial aid system. We found that 61 percent of the students on our campus have part-time jobs or employment, which says to us that there is a much greater need for financial aid than that’s being provided at this point,” he said in the interview.

“[We] need to begin to work with general assemblies across the nation, as well as Congress, to talk about the need for financial aid for students who are attempting to complete their degrees, attend to their families, and do all the other things that we need to do as being a part of American society.”

The Black woman who alleged she was raped by Duke lacrosse players is one of 8,200 students at historically Black NCCU. Ammons said he does not know the woman, but that “when and if she’s ready to talk with me, my door is open.”

Ammons also cautioned against observers likening the Duke rape case to Tawana Brawley, and raising concerns that this case, if proven to be false, would prove damaging to  Black America. In 1987, Brawley, who is African-American, accused six White men of rape in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. The allegations were proven to be false. 

“One of the things that we must do is to respect the legal system. We must allow the system to complete its course, before we make any types of judgments,” said Ammons. “There are some incredibly smart people in Durham, and whatever the outcome of this case is, we’re going to able to handle it. And we’re going to be able to move on, and we’re going to better and stronger as a result of having gone through this situation.”

Ammons told Gordon that higher education administrators, faculty and staff have to continue to press forward with instilling values.

“Through every opportunity that we have to interact with our students, we must continue to work on and instilling wholesome values,” he said. “We must talk with our students more about instant gratification, and other issues that surround this particular incident, as well as throughout American higher education.”

— Diverse staff reports

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