This month’s roundup focuses on Howard University Hospital workers’ strike against poor working conditions, the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting HBCUs and the toll that recent bomb threats have taken on the mental health of students, faculty and staff at HBCUs.
March 9- April 14
Members of the labor union at Howard University Hospital and Student Health Center participated in a strike on April 11.
Nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and social workers comprising the District of Columbia Nurses Association organized the strike to protest against poor and unfair treatment from hospital management. Unilateral changes to workers’ schedules and pay were some of the issues at the heart of the strike.
“Nurses are at the breaking point. We have given everything we have to Howard during this pandemic because we are dedicated to our patients and this community,” Eileen Shaw, president of the union said in a statement. “They aren’t respecting us,” nor their patients, she added.
The President's Board of Advisors
President Joe Biden announced his appointments to the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
According to a White House statement, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the mission of HBCUs and will work towards the goal of “increasing the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity.”
President Biden will appoint 18 individuals to serve as members of the board, including presidents of HBCUs across the country, senators, activists and actors.
Bomb Threats' Effects on Mental Health
The mental health of students, faculty and staff has been a focal point following the string of bomb threats made against HBCUs this year.
"While thankfully no devices have been found, significant trauma and disruption has been done by threatening the safety and security of these campuses," said Michelle Asha Cooper, acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, during a March 17 hearing about federal agencies’ responses to the threats.
The mental health of HBCU administrators is also a concern, according to Lodriguez Murray, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the United Negro College Fund, a membership organization representing private HBCUs. Many of these historically underresourced institutions don’t have the capacity to expand mental health services and security measures in the face of threats, he added.
Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick will retire by June 2024, according to an announcement from the institution’s board of trustees.
Frederick has served in various roles across the HBCU’s campus for more than three decades, including as a student, faculty member and administrator.
Jackson State University unveiled a new atrium named after Brigadier General Robert Crear. The dedication of the new building was funded by a $1 million gift from alumnus Jon Nau, president and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributers, L.P. The fund will also be used for scholarships for students majoring in science, technology and math, including those enrolled in JSU’s ROTC program.
Keeping the million dollar gifts rolling, Walmart is making good on their commitment to donate $100 million over five years to help address racial disparities. One point six million of that is going towards helping to prepare HBCU students for tech careers through a partnership with CodePath and the 1890 Universities Foundation. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to get more HBCU students into FAANG and Fortune 100 companies.
For the first time in 20 years, a WNBA team drafted a player from an HBCU. Ameysha Williams-Holliday was picked at No. 25 overall to the Indiana Fever.
The Value of an HBCU Education
A recent study from OnlineU shows that HBCU alumni tend to have higher median salaries than Black graduates in the same state.
This study comes at a time when many students and their families are questioning the value of college.
This news roundup focuses on the trends impacting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). Each month, we highlight the policy, process and programmatic changes happening nationally and among these institutions and how the colleges and universities are responding to them.