Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

His support for black colleges remains 'unwavering'

His support for black colleges remains 'unwavering'

U.S. President Donald Trump once again sparked a controversial debate, after he suggested that a funding program for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) in America may be unconstitutional.

The earlier statement was attached to a spending bill Trump signed Friday to keep the government operating through September.

President Trump scrambled to throw his "unwavering support" behind historically black colleges and universities Sunday night after seeming to question their constitutionality days earlier.

Trump said his administration would treat those programs "in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the law under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment."' More...

"He held a meeting with more than 70 HBCU presidents in February and then said after the meeting that they didn't ask him for anything even though they did". They found, "The paragraph is not meant to indicate any policy change toward HBCUs and that the Administration intends to implement the HBCU Capital Financing Program".

Because they are called HBCUs "suggests to some that the institutions are for blacks and not others, or that blacks are provided preferences at these institutions".

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President Donald Trump has declared that his support for historically black colleges and universities remains "unwavering". During the Oval Office meeting, Vice President Mike Pence expressed the administration's support for such schools.

The Trump statement renewed a debate on social media over whether black college leaders were duped into a photo opportunity with a president who has since proposed cuts to programs that help black students (at HBCUs and elsewhere). However, Thurgood Marshall College Fund president Johnny Taylor told BuzzFeed News that he had been given assurance that "no plan" to eliminate HBCU funding now existed.

On the other hand, a White House spokesperson claims that Trump is only doing the same thing as his predecessors. Another source added: "It was a tone-deaf statement".

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will deliver a commencement speech this week at Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU. Rather, they were set up in direct response to predominantly white institutions refusing to admit blacks.

DeVos struck a discordant note for many when she described historically black colleges, in a statement, as pioneers of school choice. DeVos's first visit to a school in the United States as education secretary was to Howard University, an iconic historically black university.

"Trump's statement is not only misinformed factually, it is not grounded in any serious constitutional analysis", they wrote.

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