HBCU’s write letter to encourage passing the Build Back Better bill
DELMARVA – “Less is no longer acceptable.” These are the words of Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University.
Dr. Allen, along with other Historically Black College and University Presidents and Chancellors, are encouraging the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Bill.
“We have always received bipartisan support so that is why we really wanted to make sure our voices were heard on this particular score,” Dr. Allen said.
65 HBCU’s sent a letter to Senate leaders addressing historic disparities, as they traditionally received less than 1 percent of federal funding.
“For years, HBCU’s have been doing more with less, less is no longer acceptable,” Dr. Allen said.
“In the past, your HBCU’s, historically black colleges and universities, your tribal colleges, have been sorely underfunded for decades and decades and with that underfunding that means you have problems that are on the campus,” Dr. Heidi Anderson, President of University of Maryland Eastern Shore, said.
Dr. Anderson said one of those problems is at her university. An example, when their library had to close for almost 6 months due to storms.
“Mold was everywhere and I’m highly allergic to mold, couldn’t breathe it in and so books got damaged, everything got damaged, but it would not have if we would have had monies on a regular basis to help repair things,” Dr. Anderson said.
If the bill passes, it would invest $10 billion into HBCU’s, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Minority-Serving Institutions, with money for research and infrastructure.
“For us, here at UMES we are talking about embarking at looking at having a veterinary science program on our campus, and this would be the only public HBCU veterinary science program in the country,” Dr. Anderson said.
While we’re told this spending bill would make a difference, it still has a hurdle to pass, the U.S. Senate.
But, University Presidents are staying hopeful.
“So, I’m bullish about our prospects recognizing that it’s going to be a large road for us, but if this gets done it is a game changer,” Dr. Allen said.