Sunday, June 12, 2016

W. Eric Thomas: Bad parents and struggling colleges

ELIZABETH CITY, North Carolina -- THE GOVERNMENT of each state controls education in that state; this is true for K-12 as well as higher education. The states each have a system of public universities; that makes the state in a sense the owner of these institutions. Ownership means you can do what you choose to with that system. It’s yours.

Two universities in the Carolinas are experiencing especially rocky times, and they happen to be historically black schools.

Elizabeth City State University and South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C. are public institutions, essentially owned by the states.

At the root of ECSU’s problems is declining enrollment. This has caused severe budget reductions necessitating cuts in student services, closure of buildings, elimination of academic programs, and the most severe — faculty and staff layoffs.

The declining enrollment is no accident or happenstance; it is a direct result of state policies. The Board of Governors of the UNC system raised admissions requirements and requirements for continued enrollment knowing it would adversely affect the historically black college and universities in the state. The institution most affected is ECSU. The state knew this would happen.


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