Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) met with leaders from nine of Alabama’s historically black universities and colleges (HBUCs) following their meeting with President Donald Trump earlier in the day. As the White House considers issuing an executive order on HBCUs, Rep. Sewell gathered input from school leaders on what policy changes would make the greatest difference for HBCUs and their students. On Tuesday, Rep. Sewell will bring President George T. French of Miles College as her guest to President Trump’s address at the joint session of Congress.

“Historically black colleges and universities are an integral part of our nation’s education system and our history,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “For many of my constituents, these schools are where the first member of their family went to college and where the next generation is getting their degree. Our country relies on HBCUs as a pipeline for minority judges, doctors, military service members, and lawyers. Right now these schools need our help. I plan on taking the feedback I got today at my meeting with HBCU leaders and holding the White House accountable to its promise to promote the achievements of our nation’s HBCUs.”

Officials in the White House report that an Executive Order on HBCUs is “imminent.” A coalition representing the HBCU community highlights three top priorities for the forthcoming executive order. First, the coalition urges President Trump to establish the White House Initiative on HBCUs in the White House rather than in the U.S. Department of Education. Second, the coalition requests that the White House commit to an aspirational goal of awarding HBCUs five percent of total federal grant, internship and cooperative agreement funding, and 10 percent of total federal contract funding awarded to colleges and universities. Lastly, HBCU advocates ask that the executive order require transparent and timely reporting on progress to the president, Congress and HBCUs.

On Monday night, Rep. Sewell met with HBCU leaders including: Dr. Cynthia Anthony of Shelton State Community; Dr. Kemba Chambers of Drake State Community and Technical College; Dr. George T. French, Jr. of Miles College; Dr. Billy Hawkins of Talladega; Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr. of Alabama A&M; Mr. Dexter Jackson of Concordia College; Dr. Brian Johnson of Tuskegee University; Dr. Leslie Pollard of Oakwood College; Dr. Perry W. Ward of Lawson State; and Dr. Leon Wilson of Alabama State University.

Rep. Sewell is the Vice Chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, a group dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of HBCUs by creating a national dialogue, educating Members of Congress and their staffs, and drafting meaningful bipartisan legislation to address the needs of HBCUs.