2022 education school

University President Accused Of Defaming Missouri HBCU By Calling It A ‘Regional Institution’

-Jasmine Dyer-


Lincoln University (LU), a historically Black college and university in Jefferson City, Missouri, is currently at the center of a debatable topic: Should HBCUs welcome other “university identities?” 

The topic of discussion stemmed from an interview between the university’s president, John Moseley–who is white, and the Jefferson City News Tribune. 

LU has served as a Black and regional institution for decades due to the white majority of the local population. The student body race demographic is about 40% white and 43% Black. The amount of white students attending Lincoln has increased by 33% in the past three years, six years after the Jefferson City Community College closed permanently. 

“For a long time, predating my appointment as president, there’s just been this belief that, if you recruit locally, you’re turning away from your mission as an HBCU. Or, if you recruit nationally, you’re turning away from your responsibility as a state institution that is a regional institution,” Moseley said, noting that there’s no reason LU can’t embrace both identities. 

“If we have a nursing major from Russellville, Missouri, likely it’s going to be a white student,” Moseley added. “If that nurse ends up in St. Louis and she’s working in a hospital in St. Louis and an African American comes in because they’re in need at that point, I’d like to think Lincoln University has helped that student develop a cultural competency that allows them to treat that patient with the respect and dignity that everyone of us have come to expect.” 

Moseley also mentioned that “commuter students from all races [choose to] attend the institution because of our value, our affordability, the quality of education that they receive and the fact that it is close to their home, so it comes at even greater cost savings for the student.” 

According to Blavity Sherman Bonds, Lincoln’s president of the University National Alumni Association didn’t appreciate Moseley’s comments.

In an essay titled “A Framework for a Collective Dialogue,” Bonds shared his disapproval over the university’s president referring to LU as a “regional” institution with dual identities. 

“The tone of the narrative was perplexing,” he wrote. “It presented the African American’ space’ as a renegotiable platform that could be reduced to the status of a regional college, which diminishes the institution’s national and international prominence.” 

Bonds added that LU’s regional status “doesn’t affect the identity of the institution.” 

“You recruit from wherever you want to recruit from and whoever you get to come,” Bonds added. “The institution is a historically Black college and university founded by the 62nd and 65th Colored Infantries. That doesn’t change. It’s a Black university—and you’re welcome to come.” 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, non-Black students totaled up to 24% of the HBCU student population in 2020, an additional 15% since 1976. 

Although, some HBCUs, like LU, hold a higher population of non-Black students. Like Moseley and Bonds, many find this topic debatable. Some believe HBCUs should only allow Black students to attend. Others believe non-Black students can attend as long as Black students consist of the majority. 

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