How My HBCU Failed Me (And hundreds of other students)

This is probably the first controversial topic I’ve ever discussed on my blog, but it’s beyond necessary, especially now. I’ve talked about my issues with my previous university, but I’ve been vague about it, in fear of being retaliated against by both current and former students, but seeing as I have no more ties with them, why not go into detail about my experiences? So, sit back, grab a snack, and listen as I spill some tea about the infamous Howard University.

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Anyone that knows me knows that Howard has been my dream school for as long as I can remember. Back in high school, during the rush of college applications and standardized tests, while other students were making what seemed like the biggest decision of their young lives, my mind was set: I was going to Howard University. When I finally got my acceptance a few days before Christmas in my senior year, chile, you couldn’t tell me anything. I was on top of the world. I was really about to go all the way to DC to live out my dreams and become a Howard woman.

As most of you guys know, that dream crashed and burned. I was at this university that had a ton of issues and I was afraid to speak out on them. At first, I tried to stay as positive as possible. I mean, this was my dream school, I should act like it. But as time went on and it seemed like things continuously got worse, I became extremely discontent with my alma matter. I felt kinda like that green grouchy thing in the trash can from Sesame Street (you know what I’m talking about, right?). Everything that was coming out of my mouth was a complaint about something new. Something got turned off in the dorm, I can’t register, none of my classes are available, my professor never gets here on time, my RA hates my guts. Literally everything. And I felt so isolated and alone. I would try to discuss my discontent with my friends, but most of them were on a scholarship, so they wrote off my complaints as me just being negative. I mean, you’d be a little miffed too if you were spending $4,400 a semester to live in a dorm with no heat or hot water in the middle of a week long blizzard.

 

But that’s another rant for another day.

 

Fast forward to the present, where a group of Concerned Administrators, Faculty, and Staff drafted a letter calling for the resignation of the current university president. At first, I thought “Well, that’s a bit much, isn’t it? He seems like a nice enough guy. He genuinely cares for the wellbeing of his students and he tried his best”.

nah gif chief keef

This 16-page letter laid out all the ways that the president has brought Howard into this downward spiral. It spilled ALLL the tea, sis. Stuff that I wasn’t even aware went down. But what really hit me was the section where he lied, made excuses for, delicately explained why Howard’s student enrollment is the lowest it’s ever been in 20 years. His response?

“University applications were up to 18,000 for fall 2016 from 13,000 in 2015. The university has more students than it’s ever had in it’s history. We expect to have a large percentage of these applicants for admissions! Enrollment is a tic up! We are going to accept students who are high performers and can pay!

Sir.

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First off, why are you even concerned with the students you plan on accepting when you can’t even keep the students you already have enrolled in the first place? The enrollment is rapidly dropping because of lack of funding, incompetent administration, and people simply being tired of the bullshit and transferring elsewhere.

But the last statement is what hurts the most. The fact that you only seem to care about those students who are able to pay for their education and put more money in your pockets. I’ve personally dealt with a ton of hurt and disappointment about not being able to go back to my “dream school” just because of mine and my family’s finances, so when I read that statement, it was like the president of my own university was telling me that I don’t belong at this school just because I come from a low-income family. It’s the most ignorant, inconsiderate thing to say, especially when the vast majority of your students, these brilliant black men and women, are receiving some form of financial aid to help pay for their education. While I understand that you obviously need money to keep the university running, it’s shocking that you would put money before your students.

Again, I was weary of even posting this in the first place, because I can already hear the alumni now…

“HEY! DON’T YOU DARE TALK ILL ABOUT MY BELOVED INSTITUTION! YOU’RE JUST SALTY BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T GRADUATE FROM THE REAL HU!”

drake yelling meme

But I realize now that my feelings are valid and much needed. Somebody needed to speak up and I’m so grateful for the other students on campus who are constantly protesting and speaking out who helped me find my voice. To those alumni who fiercely stand up for this university that they love so much, I hope that you realize that you can love something/someone and not necessarily love what they do. You should want better for your university and the future generations of scientists, doctors, and artists who attend it.

 

“But we went through all the same stuff and it made us better people! These kids nowadays are just too damn sensitive to everything! It’s all a part of the Howard experience.”

 

Good for you. But you should still want your university to do better. There’s nothing cute or traditional about a boys’ freshman dorm being notorious for not having air conditioning for the past 30 to 40 years or the roof of a girls freshman dorm literally falling apart when a few strong gusts of wind blow past it. What’s wrong with simply asking that we as students get what we’re paying for and holding the higher ups accountable?

 

All I’m asking for is the number one HBCU in the nation to act like it and step their game up.

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4 thoughts on “How My HBCU Failed Me (And hundreds of other students)

  1. Great inside look that seemed both insightful and honest! I remember Howard being my dream school but I opted out due to the price and my family not being able to afford. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who attend/have attended Howard since I’ve been in DC and it’s always amazing some of the stories you hear that go little bit deeper than the average college drama. Glad you’re speaking up!

  2. My sister went to FAMU in the 90s and girl. Let me just say you ain’t neva lied. She wondered why I wanted to go to a PWI 🙄🤔
    It’s sad how the money doesn’t help the students and facilities as it should.
    Defending it is beyond ridiculous.

  3. Great insight my sista! It’s time we stop using our HBCU pride as a excuse and to continually and diligently improve these institutions.

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