UConn Makes Controversial Decision To Open African-American Housing

The University of Connecticut has announced a controversial move, just in time for Black History Month; housing for African-American males will be available at Storrs campus this fall.

The ScHOLA²RS House is a bit of a funky name that stands for “Scholastic House Of Leaders who are African-American Researchers & Scholars,” and has been in the works since last spring, when the college was given a $300,000 grant for the initiative. Dr. Erik Hines, who specializes in African American male academic achievement, was the one to come up with the idea.

According to the ScHOLA²RS website, “Nationally, as well as at the University of Connecticut, the retention and graduation rate of black males is generally significantly lower than that of other demographic groups, whereas the graduation rate for black women is higher.”

The community will be part of one floor in NextGen Hall and will house 43 male students. According to University spokeswoman, Stephanie Reitz, 13 students have already expressed interest.

While it may initially seem like a step in the wrong direction, the purpose is to create a space – similar to that of a fraternity of sorority – in which statistically disadvantaged students can thrive.

That’s not to say the program hasn’t been met with outrage though.

According to The Daily Campus, UConn’s newspaper, one student in particular was less than thrilled. “I was not pleased, my immediate thought was ‘What?'” Haddiyyah Ali, a fourth-semester Africana studies and political science major said. “I know there had to be a lot of research that went into it…but just for me coming from a student perspective, my initial thought was what about black women and girls – what about us?”

Reitz says the angry phone calls and Twitter messages she’s received have been “disheartening” and that its purpose is “misunderstood.”

“We know it’s not issue of whether African-American males have the capability to excel in school; rather, it is their environment that sometimes inhibits their potential,” Reitz said.

It’s also important to note that all male students are welcome to apply, but those who identify themselves as African American/Black or mixed-race will be given priority, according to the website.

[H/T: Stamford Advocate]

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