Trump Executive Order May Put HBCU Funding In Jeopardy


A newly signed executive order from President Donald Trump could very well threaten federal funding for historically Black colleges universities.

In September, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13950 into law. Under this executive order, federal funds will be withheld from agencies or contractors promoting racial, sex-based or gender stereotyping. Simply put, federal funds will no longer be issued to organizations promoting "divisive" concepts. Executive Order 13950 defines "divisive" concepts in a somewhat broad manner. "Divisive concepts" are defined as follows:

  • One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex

  • The United States is fundamentally racist or sexist

  • An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously

  • An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex

  • Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex

  • An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex

  • An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex

  • Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex

  • Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race

The broad nature of this definition has led skeptics to believe that this executive order could threaten federal funding provided to HBCUs. While HBCUs are not defined by the federal government as promoting "divisive" ideals, the inherent nature of promoting Black history and Black education could fall in the crosshairs of this definition.

The President has voiced his support for HBCUs in theory, but he has made troubling comments regarding HBCU funding in the past. In 2017, Trump suggested that allocating funds to HBCUs is unconstitutional. Causing frustration across Capitol Hill, members of his administration were forced to walk back his false claims.

"It seems that this was the foundation for the executive order signed just over three years later, which doesn't namecheck HBCUs, but puts the funding programs, academic infrastructure, and culture in the crosshairs for political retribution," Morgan State University graduate Jarrett Carter Sr. stated. "Trump’s statement is not only misinformed factually, it is not grounded in any serious constitutional analysis," Reps. John Conyers and Cedric Richmond added. If re-elected, funding to historically Black colleges and universities could very well be under attack in the Trump administration.

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