After Being Labeled A Racist, Senator Removes HBCUs from Controversial Bill
After being marked as a racist, North Carolina Senator Tom Apodaca said that he plans to drop three historically black colleges from SB 873. This bill would drastically lower tuition of historically black colleges and universities to $500. Alumni and leaders of the HBCUs in question had been actively campaigning against the bill for fear that it would ultimately create huge financial problems and threaten the solvency of these historic colleges.
The move came after North Carolina's NAACP called the proposed tuition cut a back-door attempt to drive the black schools into bankruptcy.
For weeks, administrators, faculty members, students and others have warned that the loss in tuition revenue could cripple the five institutions. Many said they didn't trust assurances from the conservative, GOP-controlled legislature that it would make up for the lost funding with up to $70 million a year. Others warned that a rock-bottom tuition of $500 would look bad and cheapen a degree from the schools involved.
Supporters of North Carolina's historically black colleges have long complained that the institutions are shortchanged by the state. The Rev. William Barber, president of the NAACP's North Carolina chapter, went further in recent days, charging that the proposed tuition cut is "trickery" designed to "drain and bankrupt" the schools. Some worried also that cheap tuition would send the wrong message.
"After all, if someone offers to sell you a $500 car, wouldn't you question its value?" James Anderson, chancellor of Fayetteville State, said in a letter to North Carolina newspapers in March.