Investing in HBCUs
"In short, what is the price I pay? Let’s start with the explicit ones. Job insecurity – I never know from semester to semester if I am going to have a job. Low pay – my parents never understanding why I still need financial assistance after all these years. Confusion – discovering my neighbor who is team leader at a Supermarket makes more than I do AND actually has medical benefits and considering asking for an application. But that’s not what ails me most. The price I am paying now is the thought that I am going to have to give up my passion, my calling and “get a real job” because adjunct teaching does not offer sustainability or a living wage.” Tara Holman, former professor at Spelman College
As instructors at HBCUs, we feel a special commitment to our institutions. These schools educated generations of black doctors, engineers, teachers, and scientists. However we cannot ignore the crisis in our midst. Between 2010 and 2012, a study found ten states refused to fully match federal funds, leaving HBCUs to make up the difference, costing these schools $57 million.
We are fighting to change that. In legislative hearings and on the streets.
We also cannot ignore the fact that non-tenure track faculty at HBCUs earn at the low end of the already low pay scale for academic labor. Even full professors at HBCUs can expect to be paid little more than half of what their counterparts at non-HBCU institutions are paid.
We can do better. By working together and joining the national faculty movement, we can raise standards for faculty at all HBCUs and keep up the pressure to increase funding for these institutions and financial aid for students.