An HBCUs Matter Movement

JEFFREY L. BONEY | 10/5/2015, 1:02 p.m. | Updated on 10/6/2015, 1:10 p.m.
The Black Lives Matter Movement isn’t the only movement that has created a hashtag that has caught on like a ...

In response to the movement, TSU officials released a statement:

“Students are a top priority in every aspect of our operations at Texas Southern University. The university administration is taken aback by the flurry of social media surrounding issues that have occurred at the beginning of this semester. TSU Administrators are aware that members of the Student Government Association have a campus peer meeting scheduled for Monday, September 21. We will trust this process and will be prepared to meet with student leaders at the conclusion of that assembly. The TSU Administration welcomes and values student opinions. We will listen to concerns posed by the student body and, in turn, work toward a resolution. We remain ... OneTSU.”

The TSU Student Government Association released a statement:

“Student Government Association leaders at Texas Southern University are meeting to discuss student matters. TSU students are asking that members of the media respect their privacy as they work out a path toward resolution with university administrators, and do not want the tone and tenor of their meeting distracted by cameras and microphones. The majority of TSU students do not support actions taken by a few last week to point fingers at the administration for some issues that may have been the fault of the students in question. SGA leaders will listen to all concerns from the student body and then meet with university administration to resolve critical problems.”

Texas Southern University SGA President Crystal Owens chimed in with her thoughts.

“We love our university and we know that our administrators will do whatever it takes for students to receive the best possible education and support,” Owens said. “We are one TSU and will emerge in a better place after this dialogue.

The TSU SGA meeting was held on Monday, and students came together to share their myriad of concerns. After the meeting, several students chimed in about the movement and their efforts.

“I am in support of restoring TSU’s heritage and tradition,” said TSU student Anthony Collier.

“I feel that #TakeBackTxSU is mainly trying to address that TSU has lost its spirit and we want it back,” said TSU student Tierra Mayes.

“This movement is not student led, it’s not SGA led, it’s God led. What’s done in the dark comes to light,” said TSU student Kaleb J. Taylor.

TSU senior Jerry Ford believes that the TSU administration is in a tough situation because they are struggling to get funding and is at the mercy of the state of Texas.

“Because TSU alumni does not give back at the same rate as the alumni of a predominately White institution, the TSU administration has tried to counter that by white-washing the university to attract a different type of student,” Ford said. “I would like to see a more conscious effort at trying to attract the top African American students while also providing a diverse education. TSU has attempted to remove the HBCU tag during down financial times in hope of changing the image. I want the administration to embrace the school’s culture and actively recruit people of color instead of pushing us out. I want the administration to strive to become the best HBCU, with the likes of Morehouse and Howard. Improving one’s image doesn’t mean putting non-color faces on billboards. You can have Black faces on billboards and still have a good image. If our own HBCU is too embarrassed to recruit and educate Black students, who should we look to that will?”

Ford believes that the #TakeBackTxSU Movement was an eye-opener for the current administration and the beginning of a conscientious change amongst Black students at TSU and hopefully across the country.

“Imagine if a historically predominant White school, with a 90 percent White population, started releasing recruitment videos of only Black students,” Ford said. “What if that same predominately White school started to then intentionally erase the culture of that White college which is full of history and tradition, in order to resemble an HBCU so they can get more funding? Would that improve their school’s image? Of course not. Now you understand what #TakeBackTxSU is all about.”

Ford, who got offered admission to an Ivy League school out of high school, decided to stay home and play college baseball at Texas Southern University – an HBCU – simply because he wanted to have the HBCU experience during his undergrad years.

Ford and many others are hoping that qualified Black students aren’t being ignored and overlooked because of the current focus of this administration.