Remember when there were certain places in this country with signs noting “colored only” could eat there, or use that water fountain? It was a dark time in American history, but it happened and the American people learned from it. Never again would people be separated by race.
Then again, maybe the folks at the University of Connecticut didn’t talk to their history department before their latest decision become public.
The ScHOLA²RS House—which stands for “Scholistic [sic] House Of Leaders who are African American Researchers and Scholars”—”is a scholastic initiative to groom, nurture, and train the next generation of leaders to address grand challenges in society through the promotion of academic success in undergraduate programs at the University of Connecticut and in competitive graduate programs,” the website states.
“ScHOLA²RS House is a Learning Community designed to support the scholastic efforts of male students who identify as African[-]American/Black through academic and social/emotional support, access to research opportunities, and professional development,” it continues. “The intent of this Learning Community is to increase the retention and persistence of students using educational and social experiences to enhance their academic success at UConn and beyond in graduate and professional school placement.”
“African American males graduate at a lower rate than their peers,” Dr. Erik Hines, Faculty Director for the initiative, told Fox61, noting that African-American males graduated at a rate of only 54 percent last year, compared to 82.5 percent for the campus as a whole.
“It is a space for African American men to, one, come together, and validate their experiences that they may have on campus,” he explained. “Number two, it’s also a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience.”
The specialized housing does not—quite—constitute a “segregated” residence, as it is currently optional, much like the “affinity housing” that other schools have put in place to serve as a “safe space” for minority students.
For years, we’ve been told that exposure to people of different ethnicities and backgrounds was ultimately a good thing. Now there’s concern that black males can’t or don’t work well in that environment?
The lower graduation rate is a legitimate cause for concern, however there’s been little discussion as to why that’s the case. Many question whether or not this is the right use of the university’s resources in addressing this problem.
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