ECSU budget provision angers black lawmakers

Posted May 29, 2014

Rep. Annie Mobley, D-Hertford, talks about a Senate budget provision that could lead to closing Elizabeth City State University.

— Rep. Annie Mobely, D-Hertford, is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University and now part of a group of lawmakers hoping to derail a budget provision that could lead to the school being closed. 

"I know what I endured, having been a sharecropper's daughter," Mobely said Thursday. "Had I not been able to go to Elizabeth City, I'm not sure what would have happened to me or a number of others in our community."

A provision in the state Senate's budget says that the UNC Board of Governors shall study closing any institution that has seen its enrollment decline more than 20 percent between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013. 

"We know of one institution that fits that bill, and that's Elizabeth City (State) University," said Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham.

The university, they said, is an economic driver in a historically poor part of the state and gives access to higher education to both young students and older workers who otherwise would not be able to go to college.

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus, the group of the black elected officials in the General Assembly, used a news conference to declare their support for ECSU. The Senate is scheduled to finish work on the budget later this week, and members of the black caucus said the House should abandon the provision when it starts work on its budget plan next week. 

Senate budget writers say the university has been bleeding money, consistently eating up more resources per student than other institutions. 

Paul Norman, vice chairman of ECSU's Board of Trustees, acknowledged the university had problems but is on the rebound.

"Elizabeth City State University is good for North Carolina and most especially Northeast North Carolina," Norman said.

He and members of the black caucus said that the provision targeting ECSU could be the first step on a slippery slope that leads to the consolidation and closure of other historically black colleges and universities in the University of North Carolina system. 

In the meantime, they said, just talking about closing the university could bring about further enrollment drops.


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  • Clayton Mack May 30, 2014
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    ECSU has an economic impact of over 200 million dollars in that area; from a state appropriation over a just over 30 million. That's a 6 to 1 return on investment. Just because a 'profit' may not be realized (strange language used to describe a non-profit) does not mean that it is not serving the community. In one of the most economically-depressed areas of this state, closing ECSU would be devastating.

    I've already written to Governor McCrory and some members of the House to strike this insane provision from the budget. It's short-sighted and vindictive.

  • May 30, 2014

    Republicans aren't even worried about trying to hide their animus for minorities any more. It's like they are daring people to stand up to them. Of course they have their minions, I mean voters, to try to defend their policies using all of the typical right wing propaganda, I mean "talking points". Pathetic at best. I guess they feel that if Caucasians like themselves don't need an edumacation, then why let those minorities have one. After all, they aren't really interested in finding jobs anyway.

  • weasel2 May 30, 2014

    Prop up another one for posterity.

  • ohbumr May 30, 2014

    View quoted thread

    welcome to america

  • baldchip May 30, 2014

    So Gov McCrory can tighten budgets anywhere as long as black universities are not affected?? Hummm??

    So much for Dr King's dream of a colorblind society. It's not ok for caucasion folks to be racist or to use color as a decision maker-but it's ok for the Black Caucus????

    Double standard-AGAIN!!!

  • Greg Boop May 30, 2014
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    The provision targeting ECSU is completely wrong. ECSU is an important university in the Elizabeth City area of our state. Yes, the school has endured some issues. However if the state would support & build up the school rather than attempt to close it - it would be far more beneficial for our state in the long run.

  • miseem May 30, 2014

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    Right. We should fire them all. Judges, cops, DOT workers, librarians, firefighters, water and air quality inspectors, teachers. Every one of them. Let all of those corporations, small businesses, and working people pay private companies for those services. Got a pothole in your street, get your neighbors together and ask for donations. That and 5 bucks will get you a drink at Starbucks. But it won't get the pothole fixed.

  • RDcallsit May 30, 2014

    cuts inevitable. you're no more special than the UNC system or public system for K-12. All have taken on hard cuts and are dealing with it. Best of luck! I don't want trouble for the university, but it is your cast of leaders who will have to overtake your budgetary issues....

  • Kenny Dunn May 30, 2014
    user avatar

    I do find it interesting that they chose criteria which selected only one school. I don't think that was without forethought.

  • mike275132 May 30, 2014

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    Proves my point, she has always "worked" at a Taxpayer funded job.