Though their original purpose has evolved, the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities is still a vital one in America's education system. As more HBCUs start to look like the rest of the secondary education institutions in the country, they must find ways to blend tradition with progressive thought in terms of diversity and education for all. The rich history of HBCUs is not to be dismissed; in fact, it is those roots that make them a stable part of the U.S. higher education system.
Except when that stability falters. Lately it seems there are just too many HBCUs in the news for the wrong reason: financial and accreditation woes that threaten, or deliver, closure.
On June 3, Saint Paul's College officials announced that it planned to close its doors -- at least temporarily. The news followed a proposed merger with Saint Augustine's University that fell through. After 125 years, the rural school, which employs roughly 75 people in the community of Lawrenceville, Virginia, had no choice but to close its doors to new students, and help current ones find placement elsewhere.