UNCF Statement on Working in a Bipartisan Manner with Federal Officials and Candidates
UNCF turned 75 years old this year, and for that entire time has engaged with federal officials of both the Republican and Democratic parties. UNCF is a nonpartisan organization. We recognize federal policy and its impacts are central to the American higher education system and essential to making sure the students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) can realize their dreams of a quality education and a life of consequence economically, socially, and in every other aspect.
In recent years, UNCF has taken note that both Democrats and Republicans have reached out to us and our institutions, some proactively, to learn more about HBCUs and the students they educate. Even prior to this increased level of engagement, UNCF has always developed policy positions about federal support and encouraged our students to interact with federal officials. HBCUs have been at the forefront of social change for African Americans, and this is the tradition they stand on. Our institutions have always been the social laboratories where pertinent issues have gone from hypotheses and ideas to the reality of American policy, and the same will be true of criminal and social justice issues in this day.
In that context, Benedict College, like any of our institutions would, did the right thing by hosting a conversation this past weekend. Benedict is in South Carolina, an early primary state. Like other HBCUs, Benedict heard their students and the discussion was marked by the young people’s presence and engagement; and the institution led the forum to the right place to benefit their students. Benedict students, and all students at our institutions, deserve to see and hear those who are seeking their votes, and they deserve the ability to showcase their intellect by asking tough questions about issues that matter to them.
That was the intent of Benedict College.
The intent was appropriate, and our doors should be open to interface with decision makers on both sides of the aisle. UNCF knows that given the political divide in our country, it is challenging to conduct conversations with varying viewpoints. HBCUs have always been about solving our American issues, and that will continue.
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at UNCF.org, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF.