Author and activist James Baldwin so eloquently noted, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” He also shared this comment: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” The confidence to DO—and as we have noted previously, differently, is the new challenge facing all of America as well as so much of higher education.
Actions definitely speak louder than words. The brilliant George Washington Carver, who impacted so many lives throughout America during his time at Tuskegee Institute, experienced many moments of racism. He was initially turned down at one college, but found his way to Simpson College in Iowa. It was there that he later shared an important perspective: “At Simpson the kind of people there made me believe that I was a human being.” He was also mentored by a faculty advisor there who encouraged him to pursue some of his very real intellectual passions at Iowa State. He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in 1894 and a master of science degree in 1896.
Ironically, George Washington Carver received his high school degree in Minneapolis, Kansas, which was named after Minneapolis, Minnesota, where George Floyd suffered the brutal, senseless, and unnecessary killing. Without question, this situation and the numerous others that have gone on everywhere for so long have further unmasked systematic inequalities—and hopefully, will finally now facilitate actions rather than simply words. Our new tomorrow must start today.
These are definitely uncertain times for so many colleges and universities, particularly with the economic consequences of the coronavirus, higher unemployment, and for many in the marketplace, a real uncertainty about the racial and economic welcoming spirit that exists at each higher education institution. The “functional” benefits of a college degree are definitely valuable, but now more than ever, it is significantly important that an empathetic understanding built on a foundation of authentic trust be consistently demonstrated. As Rosa Parks shared, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Now is the time to do just that and be an authentic role model.
Respectful Treatment Gap
Only 36% of black graduates strongly agree that, as undergraduates, they were treated with respect by faculty. (Source: Gallup)
Fall 2020 Decision
A post-May 1 survey found 95% of committed students will enroll if a campus opens with social distancing. (Source: Carnegie Dartlet)
Recruiting for Fall 2021
John Lawlor is quoted in “The Next Enrollment Challenge,” a guide for showcasing value via virtual recruitment. (Source: Chronicle)