From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
So Much Going On, So Much Propaganda, So Little Truth
“Never allow an insult propagated to go unanswered by you. Be ever vigilant to down anything by way of propaganda that dishonors or discredits you. Don’t help the other fellow to carry on propaganda against yourself or your race.” Marcus Garvey from Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons edited by Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair page 291
Last week following a rally to support Cheyney University, the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board wrote an Op-Ed piece about Cheyney University and indirectly Heeding Cheyney’s Call that was so disingenuous I could not let it go unchallenged. Their headline read Cheyney problem isn’t racism: it’s failing to compete for students. In an article attributed to the whole Editorial Board rather than one individual, the piece blatantly minimized the role racism has played during the ninety-five year history since the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the school from the Quakers in 1922. It dishonestly stated “Cheyney’s predicament certainly has a racial component, but the solution must go beyond that perspective. It thrived in the 1960s when it was known as Cheyney State Teachers College and served as the principal institution in Pennsylvania training African Americans to become teachers. But it has struggled to find its niche in post-segregation America.”
What the editorial board deliberately failed to mention was, during the 1960’s students picketed, demonstrated and took over buildings to protest the state’s biased treatment of the school. I know because I was involved in those protests and I was part of student government when the state begrudgingly began to give the school more attention and funding.
The Board also failed to mention that President Wade Wilson (from 1969 to1980) was a wise and visionary leader who leveraged the student unrest, demonstrations and protests to get more funding, buildings and degree programs from the state.
The Editorial Board neglected to do its homework and due diligence and blamed Cheyney for its failings, conveniently overlooking and omitting something called the Performance Based Funding Formula employed by the Commonwealth that negatively impacted the PASSHE system.
In theory the formulas are supposed to generate increased efficiency, enrollment, retention and graduation rates and fund raising on the part of the university. Critics of performance based funding say these policies do not generate the goals they are put in place to accomplish. “The most instructive findings come from case studies of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, all of which based their policies on the seven principles identified by advocates. In Indiana, universities have become more selective and less diverse while also not improving degree production. In Pennsylvania, universities did not produce more degrees even after operating under performance-based funding for nearly a decade. After Tennessee increased the financial incentives and redesigned its policy, universities did not improve their graduation or retention rates. And in Washington, the state’s community colleges responded not by producing more associate’s degrees but by increasing short-term certificates. Despite each state having goals related to improving college completions, their performance-based funding policies have not yet achieved the desired results.” Why Performance-Based College Funding Doesn’t Work https://tcf.org/content/report/why-performance-based-college-funding-doesnt-work/
During a meeting Heeding Cheyney’s Call had with outgoing Chancellor Brogan in 2014, he stated PBF was not working and the schools would receive additional funding. But of course the Inquirer Board didn’t include this information since they had another agenda which was to discredit HCC and Cheyney.
The Board also mentioned the Keystone Honors Program but failed to inform their readers the program was created as the result of intervention by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in 1999 when the OCR hammered out a binding agreement to remediate the Commonwealth’s long history of underfunding and discrimination. The Inquirer also ignored the fact the Commonwealth has failed to live up to that agreement by underfunding the Keystone Honors Academy in the agreed upon amounts.
All these facts are public record but somehow the Inquirer’s “Editorial Board” chose to indict Cheyney for failing to diversify its student population. Here’s another fact the Inquirer failed to mention, unlike many schools in the PASSHE system Cheyney has never discriminated on the base of skin color, ethnic origin, creed or philosophy. In fact at one time Cheyney was the most integrated school in the PASSHE system!
What the Inquirer did was patently disingenuous; but then we must remember the Inquirer is part of the fake news industry, purveyors of propaganda and disinformation. Don’t believe their hype!