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Scholars House

Summary: The University of Connecticut has a problem with their black male population not graduating so they aim to address this problem by creating a special housing program for that population.

The University of Connecticut is trying something new to boost graduation rates in their black male population. Some call the new plan bold but others say it is segregation, going against decades worth of racial progress.


The plan will take place at the school’s main campus in Storrs where 40 black male undergraduates will be housed together in on-campus housing. They believe the students will be able to connect through common experiences and help each other make it to graduation.

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The President and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity Roger Clegg stated, “Forget about this nonsense and just treat students without regard to skin color. If there are students of color who are at risk or who could use some access to special programs, that’s fine, but schools shouldn’t be using race as a proxy for who’s at risk and who’s going to have a hard time as a student. There are lots of American-American students who come from advantaged backgrounds. And lots of non-African-American students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

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National spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality Niger Innis pointed out, “If they wanted to go to an all-black institution, there are plenty of historically black colleges that still exist. But if they want to go to an institution that is racially diverse and integrated, then racial diversity and integration is part of it. To have a university-sanctioned segregation or separation is, to me, a bit troubling.”

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The program is to be called ScHOLA²RS, short for Scholastic House of Leaders who are African American Researchers and Scholars. The program will be housed in a new facility with the goal to keep those with similar needs close together, much like other learning communities do.

Vice Provost Sally Reis disagrees with the criticism, “It’s no more segregated than putting individuals with an interest in entrepreneurship together because they have common interests.” The faculty advisor for the program, Erik Hines, said that this is the only race-based cluster planned for now but the school may add more later.

To date, 13 students have applied for the program. The school wants it to be very clear that they are not building a new dorm just for black men. The program will be located in a portion of a new residence hall, not even an entire floor.







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