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NC Senate backs away from proposal to close Elizabeth City State as thousands rally to support HBCUs

nc_elizabethcityMembers of the state Senate, who passed their $21.2 Billion budget over the weekend, apparently had second thoughts about a proposal that could have spelled the end for Elizabeth City State University.

The original State Senate Bill 744 included a two-line provision to “study the feasibility of dissolving any constituent institution whose fall full-time equivalent student enrollment declined by more than twenty percent (20%) between the 2010-2011 fiscal year and the 2013-2014 fiscal year and shall develop a plan for its dissolution. The Board of Governors shall report its findings and recommendations, including the plan for dissolution, to the 2015 General Assembly.”  The only institution that met that criteria was Elizabeth City State University.

Not only did the Legislative Black Caucus balk at the idea, loyal alums of ECSU and other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) mounted an online petition. As of Monday afternoon, more than 9,200 people had signed a petition urging lawmakers to support public education in North Carolina by “voting against any budget bill that includes a provision to study the dissolution of Elizabeth City State University.”

The News & Observer reports Republican Senator Bill Cook, who represents that district, introduced the amendment over the weekend that removed the budget provision that had threatened ECSU.

Here are just a few of the comments from the online petition (that was still going strong today) in support of ECSU and North Carolina’s HBCUs:

HBCU’s are still relevant and still serve the purpose for educating the less advantage. These institutions are the foundation for many of our great leaders today.
–Kimberly Braxton from North Chesterfield, VA

Elizabeth City State University serves a 21 county service area and is vital to the promotion of higher learning and the economy in the northeastern NC, it must not be closed!!
–Randon Pender from Winston-Salem, NC

If it had not been for ECSU, I would not have been able to get a college education. I’m grateful for ECSU and I support it financially . To God be the glory!
–John W. Jordan from Edenton, NC

Our son is a proud graduate of this fine institution. ECSU gave him an opportunity and not only did it instill confidence in him, but it gave him the opportunity to be a productive citizen of NC, and impact the lives of others.
–Brenda A. Harris from Charlotte, NC

We cannot afford to close ECSU as it has and continues to provides outstanding educational opportunities for students not only in Elizabeth City, but from around the world. The eastern seaboard will be at a loss and will the community and HBCU as a whole.
–Judy Jones from Rocky Mt, NC

This is my school. These are my roots. Improve instead of tearing down all that we have to show for us
–Tiara Sullivan from Rocky Mount, NC

This is an historic institution. We don’t do studies on how to eradicate history. We study ways to preserve it.
–Alice Sadler from Washington, NC

One Comment

  1. Dr. Leo Edwards, Jr.

    June 5, 2014 at 10:06 am

    The bill put forth by Senator Cook, who represents the district that includes ECSU, demonstrates a total lack of concern for his constituents, especially those of the minority race. Senator Cook has absolutely no regard or respect for the value and accomplishments of that great institution, and the lives it has, and continues to enrich. His service to this State is representative of insurgency and catapults North Carolina as a rival to Mississippi.