(NNPA)—My job is to promote the interests of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. So naturally I was concerned when I heard earlier this year that the new Trump administration was planning to propose increasing defense spending by $54 billion and slashing nonmilitary spending by an equal amount.
That’s when the HBCU presidents, chancellors, and I decided to roll up our sleeves and get to work engaging the Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled 115th Congress to fight and protect our interests. It paid off: In late February, after weeks of meetings and phone calls with administration officials, more than 70 HBCU leaders and I attended a listening session with top Administration officials, and a dozen returned the next day for a signing ceremony event at the White House, where President Trump signed an executive order recognizing the importance of our institutions. A few weeks later, the administration released its budget blueprint, which called for maintaining federal HBCU spending at current levels. Let me be clear: flat spending for HBCUs in a president’s budget that calls for a 13 percent funding decrease to the Department of Education is a win!
It’s clear that this Administration understands the value of HBCUs, which educate nearly 300,000 students a year, award three-quarters of all doctorates earned by African Americans and provided the undergraduate degrees of 80 percent of Black federal judges.
Not everyone is happy though– some are critical of President Trump because they believe he should have significantly increased the budget for HBCUs. Such notions are naïve in the current political environment in Washington, now run by Republicans who’ve vowed to reduce the size of government.
There are some other important things to remember as well: