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DILEMMAS IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION OF NEGROES:
A CHALLENGE TO NORTH CAROLINA
A POSITION PAPER SUBMITTED TO
THE NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION
BY
THE FIVE STATE-SUPPORTED NEGRO COLLEGES OF NORTH CAROLINA
November 12, 1966
DILEMMAS IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION OF NEGROES:
A CHALLENGE TO NORTH CAROLINA
INTRODUCTION
Today, North Carolina should be more committed than ever before to the
development of a more effective and efficient system of higher education.
The impetus for this movement should be largely the result of enlightened
self-interest in a state and region that have lagged behind the nation
generally on measures of educational achievement and efficiency. It has
become increasingly clear that many of the State's youth, regardless of
race and affluence, must have the advantage of the best possible higher
education, if the State is to make steady and lasting progress.
The movement toward a more viable system of higher education in North
Carolina has important racial overtones, since five of the state-supported
institutions of higher learning serve a predominantly Negro clientele.
Indeed, the character and roles of these predominantly Negro colleges are
destined to be reshaped as a direct result of the State's effort to develop
a uniform system of higher education in which racial designations will
ultimately have no meaning. The predominantly Negro institutions in North
Carolina, then, are also in transition and hopefully at the threshold of a
new day.
Despite the unquestioned right of any qualified student to attend any
state-supported college in North Carolina, and despite the fact that qualified
students, regardless of race, are welcomed by all State institutions, an
insignificant number of white students have elected to attend the predominantly
Negro colleges and a relatively small proportion of the Negro students have
elected to attend predominantly white institutions. Those Negro students
electing to attend predominantly white colleges are usually of high academic
ability and, in most cases, relatively high economic status—a promising
combination of traits for almost any college applicant. It seems inevitable,
then, that the predominantly Negro colleges are likely to continue as the
major source of higher education opportunity for Negroes for some time in
the future. Consequently, the basic mission of the predominantly Negro
college will continue to be that of providing the best possible quality of
higher education that it is able to provide for increasing numbers of future
citizens who have the potential for pursuing college work but whose environments too often leave many of them inadequately prepared for serious
academic pursuits.
The task of these colleges has been complicated in recent years by at
least three important circumstances. First, the graduates of these colleges
are expected to compete in the society and in the economy as if their
environments had not denied them the educational preparation necessary for
college training and, thus, for high level competition in the society.
Further, these colleges, which have never had the financial resources of
first-class institutions are expected by many to produce first-class
graduates in sizable quantities. Still further, the sheer numbers of these
students to be educated, together with such great diversity in their
cultural and economic characteristics, pose problems and dilemmas of special
import for the Negro colleges.
It is granted that practically all colleges can make a case for
increased financial support; all can point to graduates who do not perform
at sufficiently high levels of academic excellencej and all can bemoan a
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great diversity in students that usually accompanies phenomenal increases
in enrollment. But the fact that all predominantly Negro institutions can
with little difficulty qualify as underdeveloped institutions suggests that
inhibiting factors operate with greatest intensity in the Negro colleges.
Under the circumstances, the Negro colleges, therefore, must have preferential treatment of various kinds for a period of time during which they and
their students make a serious effort to compensate for the disadvantages at
which they have been placed historically.
Over the years, the Negro college has struggled with the stubborn
problem of accelerating the academic achievement of thousands of their
students who enter college with considerable potential for learning but with
poor backgrounds and serious deficits in study habits and attitudes. With
grossly inadequate resources, the Negro colleges have tried desperately to
cope with this problem, and they have made achievements of which the State
and the nation have reason to be justly proud. Quite understandably, there
must now be dramatic improvements of many types and forms.
Regardless of the way in which educational institutions of the State
share the responsibility for educating the disadvantaged students in the
immediate future, it is clear that the predominantly Negro institutions
must increase their efficiency in handling these students.
In summary, the State of North Carolina now faces a challenge in
perfecting a system of higher education that will be adequate to the needs
of all population groups. The challenge arises out of a history of "separate
but equal" in which the condition indicated by the first term obtained but
the condition indicated by the last term did not. The economic resources of
the State were not sufficient to support adequately two sets of educational
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institutions. Hence, the population group with least economic, political,
and social power had to take the consequences in inadequate educational
provisions. This state of affairs, in turn, resulted in an increasing
differential between the two sets of institutions. And now the State seeks
ways to equalize the educational opportunities provided through its
institutions of higher education.
The State's emerging orientation toward equality of education poses
dilemmas for the institutions which have traditionally provided education
for Negroes. For institutions that have provided higher education for
Negroes, these dilemmas are experienced as especially crucial.
The administrative heads of the five North Carolina public colleges
serving a predominantly Negro clientele are taking this opportunity to
make known their dedication to the task before them. In this position paper
are found the results of serious deliberations by seven administrators, all
of whom are Negroes and all of whom have lived with and pondered the problems
of disadvantaged Negroes for many years. Their positions regarding the
challenges in higher education and the dilemmas they face are submitted in
the following pages.
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POSITIONS HELD BY THE ADMINISTRATORS OF
THE FIVE STATE-SUPPORTED PREDOMINANTLY
NEGRO COLLEGES IN RESPONSE TO REQUEST BY
THE NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF HIGHER EUDCATION:
"WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?"
I. On Pride in the Achievements of the State-Supported Negro College; The
extent to which tax-supported Negro colleges have prepared their students to
take high positions along with others in a competitive society, and the
extent to which they are successfully meeting the challenges in industry,
government, and education is a source of great pride. The tax-supported
Negro colleges offer no apologies for their accomplishments of the past—
accomplishments obtained under the most severe handicaps. Tax-supported
Negro colleges have been working with remedial programs throughout their
history, and have developed some competencies in these areas without sufficient personnel and resources. To presume that little of educational
significance has been accomplished in the past, because authorities are now
"discovering" that the Negro college has deficiencies, is totally erroneous.
The tax-supported Negro colleges pay full recognition to the manifest
leadership evidenced in this State and the nation by their graduates. The
sudden emphasis to place demands upon the Negro college by the Board of
Higher Education of North Carolina is most welcomed. It indicates that at
long last State authorities in education are emphasizing the need for quality
education in the Negro colleges,
II• On the Role and Purpose of the State-Supported Predominantly Negro
College: The tax-supported Negro colleges have historically held as purposes:
A. To provide educational programs for qualified youth
B. To lift the level of achievement of Negro youth
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The crisis in higher education today causes the tax-supported Negro
college to continue old purposes and, in addition, focus upon redefined
purposes related to the crisis and its urgency. They are:
1. To develop motivation and lift the sights of Negro youths
2, To bring Negro youth up to regional and national norms of performance by delineating appropriate steps to be taken in this direction
3. To obtain a student population of diverse racial elements more
nearly reflecting the demographic pattern of the nation and thus
providing for more realistic preparation for life and the nation
4. To train a type of leadership which will help lift North Carolina
to a higher position of national eminence
III. On Administrative Organization: There exists the basic error that
institutions need varying types of administrative services. Negro colleges
share the dilemma of smaller non-Negro tax-supported colleges in not having
adequate administrative services. Institutions have similar responsibilities
regardless of size. Any comparison of institutions of comparable size,
inclusive of state-supported institutions other than those participating in
this paper, will face the stark revelation that the number and kind of
administrative positions are not comparable. An institution with 1,000,
5,000, or 10,000 students needs a coordinator of personnel, a financial
aids officer, a development officer, and a central office to draft proposals
for foundations and the Federal Government and to implement these programs
when granted. Every student body should have available psychiatric services.
The complexity and diversity of funds coming to the college from a non-state
tax source make it imperative that full-time administrative officers are               
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Rudolph Jones Scrapbook [1966-1967]

276 total pages