The last question President Obama took atÂ a town hall meeting at a Louisiana high school,Â Thursday, came from a student at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The presidentâ€™s answer has set off a debate over how his administration has treated historically black collegesâ€”a sore point for some black educators who took great pride in the election of the first black president of the United States.
The studentâ€™s comment to President Obama: â€œMost times, when I go recruit off of high schools, most of the time a lot of them say, ‘Oh, I donâ€™t want to go to an HBCU college. I feel like if I go to an HBCU, I wonâ€™t get as many opportunities as a student at â€¦ LSU or Tulane.’ So what is your â€¦ advice to students like me, thousands of students like me who go to HBCUs, and us finishing the course in order to be great leaders in this society?â€
President Obama responded by affirming the â€œpowerfulâ€ tradition of historically black colleges in training many leaders, and said he believed that employers and others would respect those “making the kind of presentation you make or a Morehouse man makes or a Spelman young lady makes,” naming two of the more prestigious historically black colleges.
He then went on to say that â€œthereâ€™s a range of challenges that HBCUs face. Some are doing great; some are having more difficulty. And some of thatâ€™s good. Lookâ€”or some of it is the result of good things. We donâ€™t live in a society where African Americans are restricted in what colleges they can go to. And I want them to be able to go to an LSU or a Tulane as well as a Southern, as well as a Morehouse, as well as a Howard or a Spelman. So more opportunities open upâ€”thatâ€™s good.â€
Read more at Inside Higher Ed.