Spaulding takes issue with talk of consolidating minority colleges

Sep. 16, 2013 @ 04:45 PM

Gubernatorial candidate Ken Spaulding said members of UNC Board of Governors are being “reckless” when they talk about closing or consolidating some of the state’s historically minority colleges.
Spaulding, a Durham lawyer who announced last month that he will run for governor in 2016, is responding to comments made last week by board member Harry Smith who said it’s time to have a conversation about consolidating campuses that are low-performing and reallocating resources to high-performing schools.
Smith made his remarks during a meeting where the board received a staff report that recommended lifting the 18 percent cap on out-of-state students at the six historically minority colleges in the 17-campus UNC system to shore up declining enrollment.
“It is very unfortunate that some of Gov. Pat McCrory's allies on the UNC Board of Governors are contemplating closing (as they call consolidating) some of the six historically minority universities in our state,” Spaulding said in a news release. “This type of reckless contemplation is not helpful to the enrollment issues being discussed.”
Spaulding went on to criticize McCrory and the Republican-led General Assembly of failing to adequately fund education in the most recent budget.
“Good jobs and a good business climate are totally interdependent upon a well-funded educational system,” Spaulding said. “This insufficiency of state funding must be reversed.”
The state’s six historically minority institutions serve mostly African-American and Native American students.
Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, N.C. A&T University, N.C. Central University and Winston-Salem State University serve most black students, and UNC Pembroke serves mostly Native Americans.
This academic year, five of the six schools suffered heavy budgetary losses due to enrollment declines. The lone exception was NCCU.
Spaulding said the schools remain important gateways of opportunity for minority students.
“Closing down schools of higher education which have a rich history of opportunity and success in this state, should not be the answer to the legislature's flawed decisions and misplaced priorities,” Spaulding said. “The state of North Carolina can do much better for all of its citizenry.”