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Sign of the times: Albany State no longer an HBCU?

Albany State University students are outraged about their beloved school in the process of losing its title as a Historically Black College and University in its revised mission statement. 

They refused to go unheard. On Friday (March 11), hundreds of ASU students protested during a presentation by the school’s president, Arthur Dunning. That week the new mission statement was approved by the state’s Board of Regents.

The mission statement sought to appeal to a broader range of people. The new mission is a part of ASU, which is roughly 89 percent African American, merging with Darton State College, which is 49.6 percent Caucasian. 

“Call me crazy but I personally feel that this is just a jump start to get rid of HBCUs,” said Conzuela Sanford, a sophomore at ASU. 

The student body is concerned that the history and legacy of Albany State University is being stripped away. They feel it is a personal attack against the founders, current students, alumni, and staff. 

This week students involved in Friday’s protest and others supporting from afar took over social media using the hashtag #HBCUStrong,  #WeAreASU, and #Advocates4ASU.  

The thought of losing the title “Historically Black College and University” has always been a big topic but it is now becoming very real for other HBCUs across the country. The fear is that this is only the beginning of ridding the nation of predominantly African American campuses altogether. 

Prior to revision, the previous statement consisted of:

“Albany State University, a historically black institution in Southwest Georgia, has been a catalyst for change in the region from its inception as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute to its designation as a university. Founded in 1903 to educate African American youth, the University proudly continues to fulfill its historic mission while also serving the educational needs of an increasingly diverse student population.”

The revised sentence that will replace the use of “historically black institution” is:

“ASU respects and builds on the historical roots of its institutional predecessors with its commitment to access and a strong liberal arts heritage that respects diversity in all its forms and gives all students the foundation they need to succeed.”