It’s a new year which means the start of spring semester at colleges around the world. PWI’s, HBCUs, public and private colleges. Students everywhere have 4.0’s, they are studying, and have getting involved in clubs on the top of their mind. Everyone, except for the few hundred predominately black college women at Bennett College. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, the parents of these young women fear that Bennet College will lose its accreditation.
The historically black liberal arts college has been the talk of discussion in the recent months due to the schools fight for accreditation. Without accreditation, Bennett can't receive money from the government including Pell Grants, student loans, and work-study. Because of this, students will have to pay for their stay at Bennett mostly out of pocket. With losing accreditation, it makes it hard for students to transfer credits, get a job or go to grad school. Bennett’s former president, Julianne Malveaux, stated that the university is unstable and is in need of $5 million by the first of February in order to keep the institution’s accreditation.
The campaign, #StandwithBennett, has been promoted on social media to promote awareness for the college and it’s minimal timespan to raise money to keep its doors open. Empire star, Jussie Smollett, and professional chef and actor, Jake Smollett, recently joined the public campaign to raise funds for Bennett College. In the caption on his social media accounts, singer Jussie Smollett said, “In the 1930s we had 121 #HBCUs now we’re at 101. Don’t let us be down to 100 if #BennettCollege, who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors.” Allegedly, the college has been on probation for the past two years. Bennett has been struggling financially for years, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges said this is Bennett's last run. Until a hearing on February 18th, the institution will stay opened and accredited.
Being a Historically Black College and a women's college, Bennett losing its accreditation is a huge deal in the HBCU world. Bennett College lies as one of only two historically black colleges for women, the other being Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. If you haven’t noticed, the number of HBCUs have decreased over the past decades and are still going away to this day. Hopefully, with the help of a few people, Bennett College will continue to serve as a learning center for black educated women, and as our sister school.
Griffin, C. ( 2018, Dec 28). Jussie and Jake Smollett Join Forces In Fight To Save All-Women’s HBCU Bennett College.
Newsom, J. ( 2018, Dec 11). Bad News for Bennett College: School faces the loss of its accreditation.