Dear President-Elect Trump:
I am writing in my capacity as the president and CEOs of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the nation’s only 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt, not-for-profit, non-partisan, membership and advocacy associations representing all of the 106 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 80 Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). HBCUs and PBIs are located in 25 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. They enroll 700,000 students. They have roughly 7 million alumni across America strengthening their families, communities, the nation, and the world.
I am writing first to extend congratulations to you and the Republican Party for your many victories in the November 8th elections. Second, I am writing to note the desire of the HBCU and PBI communities to play a central role in assisting your Administration to hone its economic stimulus, education, workforce, and immigration agendas, as well as its urban and rural, teacher preparation, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), agendas. To this end I am writing to respectfully request a meeting with you, appropriate members of your Transition Team, a small representative group of HBCU and PBI presidents and chancellors, and those of us representing this richly diverse community of colleges and universities. We would like to discuss specific ways in which our member institutions can be supportive of your Administration. We would appreciate a meeting at the earliest possible time, ideally prior to the completion of the work on your initial policy positions, and prior to your selection of all of your key executive positions.
The HBCU and PBI communities are uniquely situated to assist your Administration in realizing many of its important goals. Indeed the HBCU community has maintained engaging and mutually beneficial relationships with every Twentieth and Twenty-First Century United States Administration.
It is in furtherance of this rich and important relationship with Republican and Democratic Administrations that HBCUs have enjoyed through the years, that we seek to meet. Recognizing the value of HBCUs for developing human potential, their strategic positioning for advancing shared goals and values during your Administration, and their centrality for the realization of critical economic, security, entrepreneurial, health, scientific and technological, community and familial goals, that we seek to meet early in this transition period.
While comprising only 3 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges, HBCUs enroll approximately 21 percent of all African American undergraduate students and confer nearly 25 percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned by African Americans. The National Science Foundation reports that 9 of the top 10 institutions graduating Blacks in STEM fields are HBCUs.
HBCUs are leading the way in educating African American graduates in scientific, technological, and other fields required for a strong and competitive economy. For example, HBCUs graduate 53% of all Blacks in Agriculture; 42% of all Blacks in Biology; 35% of all Blacks in Computer Science; 33% of all Blacks in Engineering; 43% of all Blacks in Mathematics; and 50% of Public School Teachers. They graduate disproportionate percentages of Blacks in the health professions. The fifteen HBCU 2-year colleges are preparing diverse students for growth and high need disciplines in the workforce. They could play a central role in your new initiatives to put American back to work. They are located in many of the most distressed communities in the nation, with the highest unemployment. They serve as resources and beacons of hope for these communities. The 2-year HBCUs are also assisting those who are in the workforce as well as returning war veterans to retool and leverage their experiences and service to keep America strong. The HBCU Community is one that we are eager for you and your Administration to get to know and value as a reliable resource on key aspects of your agenda.
I hope you will give this request every favorable consideration. Should you have questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 439-4704 or via Email at LBaskerville@nafeo.org, or through my Special Assistant, Dr. C.A. Page at (202) 552-3304 or via Email at email@example.com. I look forward to your affirmative response.
Lezli Baskerville, Esquire
INSERTED NOTE 1/17/17: The above correspondence precipitated a number of productive meetings.