Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Battle Lines (Re)drawn

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Battle Lines (Re)drawn

Article excerpt

When the Census Bureau begins cranking out more official results this winter of the 2010 decennial Census, political scientist Robert A. Holmes will be poring over the data to see what it portends for Blacks and other minorities and how they can use it to sustain political momentum in this decade.

So far, the landscape doesn't look good, says Holmes, a veteran educator who spent more than 30 years at the graduate school of Clark Atlanta University before retiring in 2008. Holmes, who also served in the Georgia Legislature for 34 years, is the author of numerous papers on voting rights and minority participation and is a consultant for National Popular Vote, the election reform campaign.

He says higher education leaders should be bracing for the second blow of a one-two punch that is likely to rattle the higher education hopes of minorities and the poor in ways not felt for years.

Holmes advises higher education leaders--still reeling from a historic economic slide--to prepare for the eventual loss of traditional allies as Census results trigger the reapportionment of political boundaries. Governors and state Legislatures could redraw boundaries in ways that will dilute, if not outright eliminate, the ranks of higher education supporters from the Legislatures, U.S. House of Representatives, and, eventually, local officials and governing boards, he says.

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"Redistricting based on the 2010 Census will have a direct negative impact and have a disproportionate impact on funding for HBCUs," and other minority serving institutions, says Holmes, who has consulted with social policy groups and aspiring Black politicians through the past three political reapportionment periods, in 1980, 1990 and 2000.

"We won't have the folks on (legislative) committees making the deals," when higher education funding issues come up for vote, says Holmes. …

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