Bennett College is in trouble. I found out about it yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, Bennett College is a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) located in North Carolina. It is the oldest black women’s college in the country, and one of two in the country devoted to educating black women (the other being my beloved Spelman College in Atlanta).
Bennett is actually Morehouse’s sister school….not Spelman. I’m not sure why this is the case, but I do know the relationship has taken a hit thanks to time and distance between the two schools. Apparently, a number of Morehouse students don’t even know Bennett is their sister school. For the most part, the history between the two schools has been largely ignored by Morehouse (and I can only assume this is because they have Spelman directly across the street).
It’s no secret that Bennett has felt ignored and disregarded by Morehouse in favor of Spelman. Again, I don’t think this was intentional, but instead due to the proximity of Spelman to Morehouse. A spat in this love triangle took place on social media in 2015 after a Bennett alumnae threw both Spelman and Morehouse under the bus.
Here is the problem: Bennett College is in jeopardy of going the way of Morris Brown. It is on the verge of losing its accreditation, which for colleges and universities is everything. The school has been losing enrollment for years and the Great Recession hurt enrollment (along with a number of other HBCUs).
I don’t know the reasons for the fall in enrollment specifically for Bennett, but I suspect it’s due to lack of scholarships/money, lack of visibility, and the general lack of pride black people have in HBCUs and other black institutions (I’ll come back to this in a minute). From what I’ve read, Bennett College’s enrollment has been steadily increasing the last few years, and the threat to their accreditation came as a surprise to them because they were getting back on track after a tough period in their history.
The contrast between Spelman and Bennett is stark. Spelman has about 2,500 students at any given time and an endowment of almost $370 million a year, which is probably the largest of all HBCUs when we consider Spelman’s size and population. Spelman has never (and likely will never) had financial issues. There are a number of reasons for this….
- The school’s name carries weight, and the demand for admission has always been great. The school has an excellent reputation. It’s been the number one HBCU for years now.
- There is a strong alumnae association. I know generations of Spelman women.
- For whatever reason, white people love Spelman. The Rockefellers still sit on the board (the school is named after John D. Rockefeller’s wife) along with a few other rich white people. One such rich white woman just gave the school the largest donation that any HBCU has ever received, $30 million dollars.
I wonder why Bennett, and other HBCUs, have never garnered this type of support?
A big part of me blames the black community as a whole. We do not value our institutions the way other races do. The things we should value are either spit on or ignored. Meanwhile, the community can seemingly come together to sound the alarm for a dumbass ignorant hip hop artist, who finds his ass in prison for shit he actually did. Lost doesn’t even begin to describe this madness.
Too many of us hate blackness and everything associated with it. I read somewhere that in 1950 90% of black people, who went to college, went to historically black colleges and universities. Today, only 10% of us go to historically black colleges and universities. This is shameful as hell.
Just imagine if black athletes took their talents to HBCUs instead of enriching already rich predominately white institutions. Imagine if the best and brightest black people woke the hell up and decided our colleges and institutions matter. I honestly believe we would see a better race of people instead of the brain dead zombies we see today.
When I found out about this issue with Bennett yesterday I went online to their website and donated $2,000. Spelman and Morehouse are raising money for Bennett. I don’t want to see another black college disappear. They have 6 more days to raise the $5 million needed to keep their accreditation. I hope you will go to their website and donate.
I keep looking at the total given so far on their website and when I do my heart drops….
Bennett College…..I’m praying for you.