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White Student’s Instagram Post About Attending Spelman Sparks Social Debate

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A white student at Spelman College sparked a social debate after announcing her excitement to be attending the Historically Black College.

What We Know:

  • The student posted a photo of herself wearing a big smile while sporting a “Spelhouse” sweater on her Instagram. The user @_camillarose supported the photo with a lengthy caption expressing her “dream for almost two years now” to attend a Historically Black College or University. She wrote, “I could never have genuinely imagined I’d be transferring to the #1 HBCU in the country, Spelman College. The home of Black girl magic. I feel beyond grateful for every facet of my journey & for this IMMENSE privilege.

https://twitter.com/_xmilan/status/1335669702899736579

  • The photo and caption were screenshotted and shared to Twitter, where user @_xmilan posed a question to her followers: “How y’all feel about this” she asked. Thousands of users chimed in with quote tweets of their take on the situation. While some were bothered by her presence at the school altogether, others were more taken back by the tone of her caption. Many felt her words were cloaked in fetishism for the HBCU experience and black culture. In the opinion of most of her critics, the nature of the caption spoke to the student’s own white savior complex.

  • Although the post received plenty of backlashes, not everyone believed the student intended to be harmful. In the caption, she also acknowledged the privilege she holds as a white woman in America. “I choose to wake up everyday using this privilege to create a more equitable and healed world,” she wrote. Other participants of the debate argued her enrollment at Spelman would not be the first time a non-black person attended an HBCU and would certainly not be the last. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “in 2018, non-Black students made up 24 percent of enrollment at HBCUs, compared with 15 percent in 1976.”

 

 

  • Schools like Spelman were created as spaces specifically for Black people to learn and grow in. They once stood as the only path towards education for Black students who were not allowed to attend predominately white institutions. Fundamentally, non-Black students enter these Black spaces as true allies and not appropriators.
  • The page can no longer be found, but before its disappearance, @_camillarose posted an apology. “I understand White Saviorism is a very huge issue and my post literally wreaked of White Saviorism. That is wrong,” she wrote adding, “I understand that there is so much more that was problematic with my post. I apologize.”

As she noted in her apology, “using phrases like ‘Black Girl Magic’ is not an aesthetic.” Black Girl Magic sits at the foundation of Spelman’s history and has propelled the institution to the success it has today.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Education

Howard University installs Chadwick Boseman’s name on College of Fine Arts building

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The “Black Panther” star is seen as an “icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation,” the university said.

What We Know:

“Yesterday, the letters were installed over the now official Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts,” the school said in a tweet Friday. “An icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation. Thank you Mr. Boseman.”

  • Howard University first announced in May that it would rename its performing and visual arts school after the ‘Black Panther’ star who also happens to be an alumnus of the school.
  • Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. During his time at the school, Boseman led a student protest against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the larger College of Arts & Sciences, according to the university.

In 2018, the year Boseman rocketed to international fame as King T’Challa in the Marvel cinematic universe, the university announced that its performing and visual arts school would return to its independent status.

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Education

Education Department Will Erase $5.8 Billion in Loans For Borrowers With Disabilities

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The Department of Education (DOE) announced it would eliminate the outstanding loans of over 32,000 borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities. It will also remove barriers that block future students from qualifying for this relief.

What We Know:

  • The DOE’s declaration erases approximately $5.8 million in debt. In addition, NPR writes that it symbolizes a “significant step” toward improving a “troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities.” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this statement when the Education Department revealed its decision, stating it would remove a major barrier for disabled students.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Cardona said.

  • Despite the program’s intention to wipe student loans of those who cannot work due to disabilities, those who qualified for the program needed to apply for relief. Under the new plan, students will obtain automatic relief when identified through a data match with the Social Security Administration. The next match will take place in September.
  • In addition, the Department of Education said it would propose to eliminate the three-year income monitoring period. Officials will stop sending requests to borrowers for income information during the aforementioned years. Furthermore, the DOE will consider removing it entirely during the upcoming negotiated rule-making.
  • Disabled students and advocates believe this will bring change to the program. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the vote is “long overdue.” However, Yu hopes the Education Department will review the eligibility criteria to determine when someone holds a disability discharge.

Yu added that Social Security’s match does not identify some qualified borrowers.

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