The value of HBCUs

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Historically Black colleges and universities in America remain as vital as ever, and University of the District of Columbia President Ronald Mason Jr. took less than a minute to explain.
“We’ve held America together until it’s able to figure out its issues with race,” Mason said during a visit to National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) state-of-the-art television studio in Northwest, Washington, D.C.
“The challenge for America is that you hear companies say they can’t find talent – whether it’s cybersecurity, nursing, or IT,” Mason expressed.
“Well, one reason is that, for the system America designed to exist, 77 percent of the wealth is controlled by 10 percent of the population, and 90 percent of that 10 percent is white.”
Further making the case, Mason continued:
“Either white people are supreme, or we live in a system designed to produce those kinds of numbers. There is no science to say that the first thing is right, so it’s the second.
“To produce those outcomes, you have to have a system that eliminates talent as part of the education process because you can’t allow talent to compete on the basis of natural talent and end up with those kinds of numbers.”
Mason visited the NNPA studios to tape an appearance on the PBS-TV and PBS-World news and talk show, The Chavis Chronicles, with host and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
He declared that HBCUs “overproduce” the talent needed to fill significant positions inside and outside corporate America.
“We correctly diagnose the problem, we know what the issue is, and we know what our students face and are up against,” Mason remarked.
“We learn to implement an education system that adjusts to the damage that white supremacy tries to do. People need not support HBCUs out of the goodness of their hearts. They need to do it because they need the talent and 90 percent of the talent in America is inside these vast and untapped resources that HBCUs specialize in and produce.”
Earlier this year, UDC announced an Independent Economic Impact Study that revealed the University generated $406 million within the District of Columbia and $523 million in annual financial impact in the Washington Metropolitan Region.
“The results of the study demonstrate UDC’s value proposition to the Washington Metropolitan Area as a force for good through its research, academic preparation, job creation, and role in community development,” Mason noted.
As the District of Columbia’s only public university, UDC has a longstanding commitment to providing affordable, world-class instruction that addresses the needs and challenges of groups historically denied access to higher education, Mason added.
“This independent study confirms the importance of having a strong public system of higher learning in the District as the anchor for a sustainable, resilient, equitable urban community,” he said.

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