'Our education is quality.' Triangle HBCUs prepare for enrollment increase after SCOTUS ruling

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, July 6, 2023
HBCUs prepare for possible enrollment increase after SCOTUS ruling
HBCUs across the Triangle say SCOTUS ruling against using race in college admissions could bring more students to their campuses.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action is starting conversations at Historically Black Colleges & Universities across the country including St. Augustine's University.

Supreme Court justices set new limits on affirmative action, striking down the current race-conscious admissions policies in place at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University.

Raleigh-based Saint Augustine's is hopeful the ruling could bring more scholars to campus.

"Our education is quality," said Leslie Rodriguez-McClellon, Senior Vice President for Student Experience.

It's something HBCU alum and current students say they already know, but leaders said they believe the SCOTUS ruling could open the door for others to better understand how HBCUs have made their footprint in the world.

"At least 50% of Black teachers in this country are educated at HBCUs. We still educate engineers and attorneys," she said.

According to McClellon, the university anticipates enrollment increases following the affirmative action ruling. It's already preparing to meet the need.

"We are looking at increasing and updating our HVAC on campus. We're investigating building more housing on campus and we're increasing the capacity. Our Information Technology infrastructure is being improved on the campus. So we'll be ready," she said.

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McClellon is an HBCU graduate who understands that schools create and build success stories.

"I'm living proof of that," said Damian Powell, owner of Hot 97.9 FM.

Powell is a proud alum of Saint Augustine's and part owner of the independently owned and operated radio station that plays hip hop and RnB. He learned vital tools during his time as a student that would help propel his career.

"Their education is just as good as Duke and UNC. The teachers are just as good. It's one on one," said Powell.

The radio station broadcasts across the Triangle and beyond. He often gives his time to current students by exposing them to what's possible for them in this lifetime.

"Me coming back saying I'm a product of St. Aug means a lot to students. Even though it wasn't easy, you can do it too," said Powell.

WATCH | Our America: The HBCU Experience Special

ABC11 dedicated an hour to the rich history and culture of North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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