Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Terri A. Sewell Statement on President Trump’s HBCU Executive Order

Mar 1, 2017
Press Release
President Donald Trump issued an executive order amending federal policy towards historically black universities and colleges (HBCUs).

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order amending federal policy towards historically black universities and colleges (HBCUs). The executive order relocates the White House Initiative on HBCUs, requires federal agencies to plan for greater HBCU participation in federal initiatives, but provides no path forward for increasing federal funding for HBCUs. On Monday, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) met with HBCU leaders from Alabama to gather input on what policy changes would make the greatest difference for HBCUs and their students.

“While I am encouraged that the President made a special effort to reach out to HBCU leaders, the proof of his commitment is in his willingness to provide the critical funding needed to sustain these institutions. This executive order represents more rhetoric than real commitment to addressing the issues that HBCUs and their students face,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “HBCUs provide a quality education for many of our nation’s judges, public school teachers, service members and engineers, they are not pawns in a political game. If we fail HCBUs, then we fail a generation of the American workforce. I will continue working in a bipartisan manner to increase financial access to higher education for my constituents and strengthen the financial footing of HBCUs in Alabama and across the country. ” 

This week’s executive order re-establishes the White House Initiative on HBCUs in the White House rather than in the U.S. Department of Education. The executive order requires all federal agencies to develop a plan for increasing HBCU participation in federal initiatives. Missing from the executive order is any plan for increasing federal funding to HBCUs.

In the lead up to this week’s executive order, a national coalition of HBCU leaders urged the White House to include increased funding goals for HBCUs in related executive actions.

On Monday, Feb. 27, Rep. Sewell met in D.C. with the presidents of Alabama’s HBCUs including: Dr. Cynthia Anthony of Shelton State Community; 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.