Tennessee State University president Glenda Glover, receiving a $10K donation here from Global Automotive Alliance CEO Kevin Williams, is interested in recovering federal funds that her school should have received over three decades. (Photo by Porsha Monique for rolling out)
Historically Black Colleges and Universities in 16 states have been shorted more than $12.6 billion in federal funds they should have received over more than three decades, according to the Biden administration.
They want it back.Three of the most egregious examples involve Tennessee State University, North Carolina A&T and Florida A&M. Each has been underfunded by more than $2 billion, compared to monies provided to White land-grant counterparts in their states. The law requires that they be funded equitably. Among the underfunded schools, TSU is owed the most money — more than $2.1 billion.
“We have to demand more; we have to understand that that money is our money and we need to find a way to work with the people to get this to TSU,” Shawn Wimberly Jr., a Tennessee State student trustee, said at a recent rally in Nashville, where students wore shirts and carried placards proclaiming they “were cheated.”The 16 states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Governors of those states received letters signed by Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, after the Biden administration became aware of the shortfalls covering the years from 1987 to 2020. The letters called for the governors to “step up and live up to their legally required obligations to our historically Black land-grant institutions.”
Cardona was blunt in a statement issued by his office.
“Unacceptable funding inequities have forced many of our nation’s distinguished historically Black colleges and universities to operate with inadequate resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development to student support services,” the statement read.
Even famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump weighed in and threatened legal action on one school’s behalf.
“Tennessee State University, y’all been swindled, y’all been cheated, y’all been bamboozled,” Crump said.
Glenda Glover, Tennessee State’s president, put it simply: “This enormous figure of over $2.1 billion can’t be overlooked.”
Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee took issue with the amount that his state is said to owe, citing his state’s Office of Legislative Budget Analysis calculation of $544 million at most. In response, Tennessee approved $250 million in one-time funds for TSU to use for infrastructure, but many remain unsatisfied with the gesture.
Source: Rolling Out