2001 a Year in Review

By Green, Rachel | Black Issues in Higher Education, December 20, 2001 | Go to article overview

2001 a Year in Review


Green, Rachel, Black Issues in Higher Education


2001 is a year most Americans will not forget. The year the United States experienced its worst act of domestic terrorism, claiming the lives of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 people. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, college communities across the country united to understand the national tragedy. On the heels of the attacks, congressional offices on Capitol Hill were shut down as anthrax-contaminated mail prompted thorough testing and cleanup of some of the congressional offices, delaying the completion of education funding bills. In addition, lawmakers debated legislation that would make it more difficult for foreign students to enroll in U.S. colleges and universities. The events of Sept. 11 affected all aspects of American life.

Although the terrorist attacks and the subsequent retaliation in Afghanistan dominated the headlines for the latter part of the year, there were many significant events and milestones in higher education throughout 2001.

Lawsuits against universities for using race as a factor in admissions continued to keep schools such as the universities of Michigan, Georgia, Washington and Texas in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the University of Texas' Hopwood case, as well as the University of Washington's law school case. Many in the education, legal and civil rights communities believe it's just a matter of time before the high court will have to hear one of the cases, with the University of Michigan's cases being the most likely.

In addition, Republicans and Democrats truly started off the year on the wrong side of the aisle as some Democrats, including Congressional Black Caucus members, criticized the GOP's plan to assign historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Hispanic-serving institutions, to a subcommittee that also oversaw juvenile justice and child abuse -- separating the minority-serving institutions from other postsecondary education programs. The dispute was settled following national exposure and pressure from the CBC.

As monetary donations to higher education institutions continue to increase, the California Institute of Technology received $600 million from Intel co-founder, Gordon Moore, making it the largest donation to date to an institution of higher learning.

There are certainly many more significant events to list, but following are some highlights from 2001.

IN ACADEMIA/NATIONAL EVENTS

* Members of the Congressional Black Caucus announce they will boycott congressional education hearings following the House Education Committee's decision to assign minority-serving institution programs to one of two new subcommittees under which juvenile justice and child abuse also fall and away from other higher education programs. Organizations such as NAFEO, as well as leaders from HBCUs and HSIs, criticize the plan, saying the shift means second-class status for minority-serving institutions. Eventually, the GOP and Democrats settle the dispute by giving both subcommittees "jurisdiction" and "oversight responsibility" for HBCUs and HSIs.

* The University of Georgia mares the 40th anniversary since the university was desegregated. UGA renamed the Academic Building, where the first Black students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes registered for classes, the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building. [1]

* Two popular Dartmouth University professors, a married couple, Half and Susanne Zantop, were found murdered in their off-campus home in Hanover, N.H., shaking the close-knit Dartmouth University community.

* Westley Moore, a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and College, is one of 32 American men and women to be named a Rhodes Scholar. Moore is the military academy's first Rhodes Scholar. [2]

* Texas Gov. Rick Perry appoints the first Black woman to the University of Texas System Board of Regents. The nomination of Dr. Judith Craven to the UT board marks continuing efforts to diversify a board and university system that has historically been viewed as a White male bastion.

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