The A&T Register

Dissatisfaction with Preeminence 2020


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Since 1891, N.C. A&T State University has been a public, historically black, land grant institution. Through the years, the institution has had very memorable events take place.

From developing a 100 acre farm equipped with the latest farm machinery, to the late Ronald McNair orbiting earth in the space Shuttle Challenger—A&T has shown its potential in Progressing America. Aggie Pride echoes from the football stadium to the radio airwaves. How could someone ever question the relevance of this HBCU?

Unfortunately, more than 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities have seen decreasing graduation rates in the last decade—including A&T. After struggling to stay afloat with other institutions after budget cuts, A&T has had to consider a plan to curve the downfall.

In 2010, a diverse group of individuals began a process directed towards setting the future of this historically black institution. A&T’s Board of Trustees approved this plan in 2011. Some of the strategies in the plan include instilling passion for academic excellence, enhancing faculty-student interaction, and recruiting and retaining gifted students by providing an academically challenging environment. Overall, the plan is an outstanding one, and a seemingly bright design for our university.

What is beginning to catch the attention of many students is the very last line of the strategic plan. Under “diversity”, it states that the 2011 African American population was 87 percent, and the goal for 2020 is 70 percent. A 17 percent decrease in black students is expected to take place within this nine-year span. There are a number of reasons this has begun to upset the black student population at A&T. Some fear that this will create a trend, and they will soon return to a school that has no students that resemble them.

Other black students have complained about the lack of financial support provided by the school, while the diversity scholarship has paid for many non-black students’ tuition.

Complaints about Preeminence 2020 began during a tuition and fees forum in the fall. At the forum were told students were told they are now paying $25 extra to fund Asian students to finish their junior and senior years at A&T. The notion of this fee is problematic because one of the leading causes of students dropping out of HBCUs is the lack of money to stay enrolled.

Recently, the college of Arts and Sciences held a program on the relevance of HBCUs. During the question and answer period, a student said he felt as if the university has given up on its black students. A few faculty members responded by saying “The demographics have changed.” According to the Census Bureau, from 2000-2010, the black population of Greensboro has grown about 3 percent alongside the Hispanic and Latino population, while white population has decreased about 7 percent.

This leaves the population with an estimated 48 percent white, 40 percent black and 7 percent Hispanic or Latino in Greensboro, N.C.  The demographics have certainly grown, with black and Hispanic or Latino citizens. The black population is decreasing on campus, and increasing across the city.

Hopefully, faculty and administration can address this concern with students so that the brighter side of the strategic plan can be implemented without creating any resentment within our student body and alumni.

—Email Devin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @theatregister

  • Devin Mcallister, Contributor
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Dissatisfaction with Preeminence 2020