Dr. Walter Kimbrough

“Dr. Walter Kimbrough, HBCUs Cannot Reap Where HBCUs Have Not Sown”

Dr. Dre (Photo Credit: Associated Press)

(This is an excerpt from an Op-Ed published by HBCU Digest and penned by A. Zachary Faison, Jr., Chief of Staff & Interim Vice President for University Advancement at Mississippi Valley State University.)

I must say from the outset that I maintain a profound and genuine respect for the visionary leadership of Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University, as one of the nation’s leading and preeminent voices in the persistent plight of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Indeed, as a younger member of the “hip-hop generation” who also heeded the call to serve the HBCU community as an executive administrator, I was actually in part personally inspired by Dr. Kimbrough’s leadership having known him personally as a student during my matriculation as an undergraduate at Albany State University where he served as a vice president a decade ago.

However, after reading Dr. Kimbrough’s May 22, 2013 Los Angeles Times article titled, “Why USC and not a black college, Dr. Dre?” concerning his angst and disappointment regarding hip-hop super producer Dr. Dre’s recent $35 million dollar gift to the University of Southern California, I pensively ruminated whether Dr. Kimbrough or other HBCU leaders were sincerely ready to hear and fully appreciate the rather inconvenient truth that belies the unfortunate answer to his retort with respect to HBCUs often not being the beneficiaries of multi-million dollar gifts.

Unfortunately, as a higher education advancement/development professional and state legislative liaison/lobbyist for a state sponsored HBCU, it sadly is of little surprise nor is it much of a perplexing reality that these kinds of gifts and investments continuously escape the needful grips of a great majority of our institutions. To put it bluntly, and at the risk of taking too much of a literary liberty with a sacred Biblical principle, “Dr. Kimbrough, HBCUs cannot reap where HBCUs have not sown.”

Read the remainder of the great article here: “When It Comes to HBCU Philanthropy We Cannot Reap Where We Have Not Sown”.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Black Greek-Lettered Fraternities and Sororities and Hazing

On college and university campuses across the nation, a phenomenon that has been going on for a tremendously long time persists: hazing. While hazing happens in non-Black Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities, the particular focus of this article is on the hazing that takes place in Black fraternities and sororities. The reason that I am electing to focus on Black fraternities and sororities is I am seriously concerned about how dangerous practices engaged in by some chapters of Black fraternities and sororities may not only be putting the emergence of new Black leadership at risk, but also continuing to put the lives of young Black men and women at risk. Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough, President of Philander Smith College, a historically Black college in Arkansas, has penned a book that does a fairly decent job of highlighting the problems with hazing and other problematic behavior of some chapters of Black fraternities and sororities across the nation: Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Black fraternities and sororities played a significant role in participating in the struggles for justice and equality. After all, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a member of the first Black fraternity to be assembled, Alpha Phi Alpha.  Even during the 1970s, Black fraternities and sororities were playing instrumental roles in positive dimensions of the Black Power Movement. While hazing was taking place during the 1950s and 1960s (and even before the 1950s and 1960s), the constant occurrence of such egregious hazing was not as serious as it is in our contemporary moment. As a strong supporter of Black fraternities and supporters, I want to see them abandon hazing. I have many friends and family, including my father who is a member of Omega Psi Phi, who are members of Black fraternities and sororities.

Meaningful relationships can take place without engaging in hazing. Hazing is a violation of criminal law and is grounds for immediate expulsion from the academic institution in which the violators are situated. Black men and women have been murdered, made permanently handicapped, placed in comas, rushed to emergency rooms, taken to intensive care units, and etc. because they have been hazed in such brutal ways. Each Black fraternity and sorority has policies that forbid hazing. The reason why so many people have been victimized by egregious acts of hazing is many of the leaders in these organizations are allowing hazing to take place. Many of these leaders will say in public that they are against hazing and will punish those found guilty of hazing, but many of them are the main ones who participate in hazing.

Higher education institutions and state legislatures are going to have to place harsher penalties on fraternities and sororities and the individuals involved in hazing. People are dying and/or having their lives severely altered by being victimized by hazing. For those who were tricked into being hazed, I feel sorry for them. I do not feel sorry for the individuals who already knew that they were going to be hazed and ended up having something terrible happen to them. We have to assume greater individual responsibility.

I call for national and local leaders of Black fraternities and sororities to become more active in supervising and monitoring the activities of your membership. If you are really serious about being against hazing, then you will take serious actions to help to dramatically decrease hazing incidents. We are losing some of our potentially great American leaders because we are allowing hazing to continue to take place. To those who are involved in hazing people, stop beating your fellow brothers and sisters! Stop trying to alienate those members and new members who refuse to be hazed! I think that it is really crazy that many members of Black fraternities and sororities would not have the same respect for members who refused to be hazed. I know that the founders of your organizations would be ashamed of the egregious acts of hazing that have taken place in the last 10 years.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison