(SBN) – The upcoming White House HBCU Week Conference has not been without controversy, as the Congressional Black Caucus has in recent weeks, asked the Trump administration to cancel it. But telling reporters last week that it was “booked to capacity with a waiting list,” according to spokesperson Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the event is still slated for late September 17-19.
The drama has not stifled the former executive director of the former President Obama’s WH Initiative on HBCUs.
Dr. Ivory Toldson, who resigned the post last June, is will attend the conference because he sees it as a opportunity for hundreds of officials who have been involved before the Trump administration to network with HBCU execs and others to come together on strategies to increase funding for the institutions.
Dr. Toldson writes:
“HBCUs have the right to their fair share of federal revenue, and federal career employees need the ability to connect with HBCU leaders, regardless of who’s in office.”
In addition, he will be moderating a discussion during the conference to discuss the importance of HBCU-public-private partnerships to advance computer science research and education at HBCUs. Toldson is currently the president and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network – a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University; and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education.
Meantime, Rep. Alma Adams, representing the 12th District of North Carolina, has joined the chorus calling on President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to postpone the 2017 National HBCU Week Conference, planned for Sept. 17-19.
In an open letter to Trump, Adams wrote, in part:
“In light of recent events, I have reached the unfortunate conclusion that this year’s 2017 National HBCU Week Conference should be postponed.”
“Earlier this month, my colleagues and I asked the administration for an update on their progress regarding HBCUs. In February, the president signed an executive order outlining greater investments and additional resources for HBCUs. It has become painstakingly clear that these promises are not being kept.”
“In this current environment, and with zero progress made on any of their priorities, it would be highly unproductive to ask HBCU presidents to come back to Washington. I call on the president and Secretary DeVos to postpone this year’s conference until a serious effort has been made to advance issues important to HBCUs and their students.”
Earlier this month, CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond-D/VA said in a statement:
“They brought all those HBCUs to town. They took a picture in the Oval Office and then they did nothing,” said Richmond. “If you look at President Trump’s budget he has a number of actions in it that actually hurt HBCUs.”
Richmond called for “substantive policies,” instead of a conference to help HBCUs.