2 Most Embarrassing HBCU Scandals and Mishaps of 2015

The HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) world had its share of scandals and mishaps during 2015. In order to grow and survive in the current economic climate, HBCUs will have to learn from these mistakes. Here are the biggest scandals and mishaps HBCUs faced in 2015.

Spelman bids adieu to Bill Cosby professorship. Bill Cosby could not escape bad news in 2015. After information from a lawsuit against him was leaked, Cosby’s worst year ever continued. Based on what was revealed, it seems to be for good reason.

According to The Associated Press, top HBCU Spelman College decided to end its relationship with Cosby and his wife Camille in the face of this information. “Spelman told The Associated Press in a statement Friday that the college has parted ways with the 78-year-old actor and comedian. A deposition released this month shows the married father of five acknowledged he got sedatives to give to women before sex.”

The report also mentioned that “the Cosbys donated $20 million to the college in 1988.”

In addition to ending the endowed professorship, the college also returned “related funds to the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation,” a foundation started by Bill and Camille Cosby.

While Cosby hasn’t been charged with a crime, the details of the lawsuit seemed to be substantial enough for Spelman and other colleges to severe ties with Cosby.
Temple, Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts, all schools that Cosby attended, have decided to part ways with the famous comedian.

Spelman, and all other educational institutions who have received money from Cosby could have continued to use the funds given to them. But it was not worth the bad PR and potential loss of current and future students. Spelman, a school for women, has a social responsibility to uphold, and considering what Cosby has been accused of, this move is warranted.

Georgia HBCU set to merge with PWI. In less-than-stunning news, the Georgia Board of Regents decided to merge HBCU Albany State University with a Predominately White Institution (PWI) Darton State College. The new school will boast close to 9,000 students and will retain the Albany State University name.
While the move to combine two state colleges isn’t shocking, it did take some by surprise that the board decided to merge an HBCU and a PWI. In recent years, we’ve seen HBCUs merging in order to keep their cultures intact, not shutter their doors, but the move in Georgia doesn’t follow that path.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the move was partially made because of declining enrollment at both institutions. “Both schools have faced enrollment declines in recent years. Albany State’s enrollment has dropped 25 percent in five years; Darton has seen a 14 percent enrollment decline since its peak in 2012.”

The Journal also reported that the school will become southwest Georgia’s largest college.

Even without the declining enrollment figures, some have concerns that Albany State will lose its culture and identity by merging with a PWI. Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the university system of Georgia, said that Albany State’s history and culture will not be compromised by the merger (but he didn’t really give specifics on how that will happen).

This announcement was not the first on mergers in the state. A merger between Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State universities was finalized earlier this year. The largest merger, between Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College, is in the works now.

I have mixed feelings about this particular merger. On one hand, it’s a way to keep both universities going and not leave students with no options. It does feel like the identity of Albany State will somehow get a little lost, but I suppose time will tell.

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