Not only are white people moving into Black neighborhoods, apparently, there are moving into Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). One white student at Bethune–Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, was shocked that he didn’t see more Black students.
The New York Times reports Clarence Carter III, plays baseball for Bethune-Cookman University and said, “It did catch me by surprise; I’m not going to lie. I would have thought coming to an H.B.C.U. there would be more Black people, but things aren’t always what you expect.”
This is under the context of baseball but Carter’s thoughts are what many are thinking all throughout HBCUs. According to the New York Times, Bethune-Cookman’s baseball team only has four African-Americans and the school is 79 percent African-American. Lynn Thompson, the athletic director at Bethune-Cookman since 1990, said, “We just happen to be historically Black; we’re not exclusively Black. Our job is to tell the great story of Bethune-Cookman through the lives of these great kids who wear our uniforms, wherever they come from and whatever they look like.”
That said, HBCUs in general have seen a shift in the racial makeup of students. According to an August report from Diverse Issues in Higher Education, “In many cases, African-American students have ceased being a majority at HBCUs,. At some, they are a small minority among a White majority.”
The report also stated “graduate, professional and online programs at HBCUs tend to draw non-Black students at higher rates.”
The percentage of white students at HBCUs stood at 17 percent, according to a report last year from Pew Research Center. That figure was up from 13 percent in 1980. Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics confirm the steady rise in white students enrolling in HBCUs from 1976 through 2004. That could be the reason, at least in part, why HBCUs saw record growth in 2017.
However, coinciding with that rise in white students at HBCUs was the “lower shares of blacks attending these institutions,” according to Pew:
“As desegregation, rising incomes and increased access to financial aid resulted in more college options for blacks, the share of blacks attending HBCUs began to shrink,” Pew found. “By fall 1980, 17% of black students enrolled in degree-granting institutions were enrolled at an HBCU. By 2000, that share had declined to 13%, and it stood at 9% in 2015.”
How unfortunate that some white students are seeing more value in HBCUs in our communities.