Presidential Executive Order on The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

I’m a little slow to review the two most recent executive orders because the events in Washington on the Russia connection are so rapidly developing and they are attracting more of my attention. It may in fact be increasingly difficult to keep this blog focused, but for now I continue to hope to keep these writings honed in on presidential executive actions.

On the surface this order appears to be a good initiative. Even on first scanning, however, some red flags come up. First, it rescinds a previous order by President Obama issued in 2010. I have not taken the time to compare the two word for word, and probably won’t do so now, but it appears to be almost word for word the same as the previous order with the exception that this order moves initiative to be “housed in the Executive Office of the President” rather than the Department of Education. Second, there is a noticeable difference in the title of this vs. the rescinded version – the previous included the word “sustainability”. What if anything does that mean.

For better understanding of this issue I have read a few news reports from higher education publications.* They report the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) folks requested the initiative be in the president’s office, and apparently did so when Obama initiated this in 2010. I suspect they believed then and now the initiative would receive a higher profile and higher priority in the administration if they did.

Apparently, the HBCU presidents were also pushing and hoping for increased designated funding as part of the order, but that did not happen.

* Chronicle of Higher Education & Inside Higher Education

Executive Order posted February 28, 2017.


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