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Statement of Support of California State Senate Bill 1348 - Black-Serving Institutions Program

Dr. Frank Harris III

We, the undersigned, strongly support California State Senate Bill 1348: Black-Serving Institution Program, which would create California's first Minority Serving Institutional designation. Senator Steven Bradford, 35th California State Senate District, authored this legislation. This designation, called a Black-Serving Institution (BSI), would recognize institutions that have enrollment and a demonstrated commitment to serving Black students.

Dr. Frank Harris IIIDr. Frank Harris IIIAt the federal level, similar designations exist under the Minority Serving Institution program. This program recognizes institutions that serve a high percentage of students of color. Generally, these institutions fall into two categories: mission-based institutions and enrollment-based institutions. Mission-based institutions have a historical legacy of serving specific minority students, namely Black or Native American students. Key examples of mission-based institutions are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). Enrollment-based institutions refer to institutions that have higher representation, based on percentage, of students of color. In California, these designations are widely held by many of our state Colleges and Universities. They include the Hispanic Serving Institution designation, requiring that at least 25% of students from the institution be Latinx/Latina. In addition, this includes the Asian American Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPISI) designation, where at least 10% of the student body is Asian or Pacific Islander.

There is one institutional designation for serving Black students based on enrollment, and this program is called Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). To qualify to be a PBI, an institution must have at least 40% of its student body comprised of Black students. For Black students in California to be able to enroll in a PBI and HBCU, they would need to leave California. California State Senate Bill 1348: Black-Serving Institution Program will send a critical signal to Black students that there are institutions in the state that want them to enroll and care about their success. This may have an impact on enrollment patterns for Black students in California, driving students toward a specific subset of safer havens within all sectors of higher education in California.

This state-level BSI designation would be a unique meld of mission-based and enrollment-based criteria. With respect to enrollment, the BSI designation would require that Black student enrollment represent 10% of the study body or at least 1,500 total Black students (aka headcount). This guideline ensures there is a critical mass of Black students within the institution. With respect to mission, the BSI designation would also require that the institutions develop a Black and African American student success plan that is consistent with the college or university's mission. These criteria are intended to avoid the common critique that enrollment-based institutions may not always have a specific commitment to serving students of color. Therefore, we, the undersigned, support California State Senate Bill 1348: Black-Serving Institution Program and urge the passing by the California State Assembly and Governor Gavin Newsom's support for this very important legislation.

We thank Senator Steven Bradford for authoring this legislation. Also, thank you to Compton College Dr. Keith Curry, Sacramento State University President Dr. Luke Wood, and California State University, Dominguez Hills President Dr. Thomas Parham for their advocacy on behalf of Black students' success.


Dr. Frank Harris III

Professor, Postsecondary Education San Diego State University


Dr. Derrick R. Brooms

Professor of Africana Studies and Executive Director of the Black Men’s Research Institute,  Morehouse College

Dr. Darnell Cole

Professor of Higher Education & Education Psychology Co-Director, Center for Education, Identity & Social Justice Rossier School of Education,  University of Southern California

Dr. Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby

Robert H. Naslund Chair in Curriculum and Teaching Professor of Education,  USC Rossier School of Education University of Southern California

Dr. Idara Essien

Associate Professor The Department of Child and Family Development College of Education San Diego State University

Dr. Tonika Green

Professor and Associate Vice President for Campus and Community Affairs, San Diego State University

Dr. Kimberly Griffin

Professor,  University of Maryland

Dr. Shaun R. Harper

Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership University Professor and Provost Professor of Education, Business and Public Policy USC Race and Equity Center Founder and Executive Director,  University of Southern California

Dr. Royel M. Johnson

Associate Professor & Director USC Race and Equity Center Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Dr. Brian L. McGowan

Professor, School of Education, American University

Dr. Christopher B. Newman

Associate Professor, College of Education California State University, Fullerton

Dr. Pedro A. Noguera

Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean Rossier School of Education University of Southern California

Dr. Lori Patton Davis

Professor,  The Ohio State University

Dr. Ivory A. Toldson

Professor, Counseling Psychology Program Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Negro Education, Howard University

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