Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

AABHE Gathers for Annual Meeting in Midst of Storm in Charleston

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

AABHE Gathers for Annual Meeting in Midst of Storm in Charleston

Article excerpt

As hundreds of Black faculty, staff and administrators from around the country converged in Charleston, South Carolina, last month to prepare for the annual convening of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE), they were met with the news that another Black man had died at the hands of law enforcement in the United States--this time in Charleston.

The gravity of the sociopolitical context surrounding their arrival would not be lost on those in attendance.

"As educators who are also brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in the Black community, we were shaken to the core in ways that cut deep into the psyche of Black America," said AABHE President and President-elect Jacqueline Gardner and Kenneth P. Monteiro in a joint statement. "There is a long, painful and particularly ugly history in America of de jure or de facto license given to officers of the law to harm or kill Black people. This situation had all the appearances of such an act."

Scholar and entrepreneur Randal Pinkett expanded on the history of malicious intent toward Blacks in this country during the conference's opening luncheon Thursday and said not much has changed.

Even as "2015 sees a great many milestone celebrations of 50th anniversaries," Dr. Pinkett said, "arguably in the 50 years from 1965 and 2015, the more things have changed, the more things have stayed the same. Suffice it to say the circumstances of 1965 are eerily reminiscent of the circumstances of 2015."

"That's not to negate the progress that we've made, because we've made progress," he continued. "But when 2015 begins to look and feel and sound the way it did in 1965, that is a wake-up call of highest proportions that we, as Black academicians,... cannot allow these atrocities to continue on our watch."

Outgoing Xavier University President Norman Francis has been in higher education for decades. In that time, Francis said he has seen a lot of change, but he is disheartened by the things he sees happening again today.

"We're coming through a very, very difficult time," said Francis. "I get scared when I see the kinds of things that are on the horizon.

"Yes, we've made some progress, but the gaps in the quality of life issues in this country have not closed," Francis added.

But, Gardner and Monteiro acknowledged, there is a glimmer of light in the most recent situation in Charleston: "Unlike many American cities, North Charleston has chosen to take immediate action," they pointed out. "Both the mayor and the chief of police addressed the family and community in a compassionate manner. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.