President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Johnny C. Taylor Jr. is the subject of an educational Inside Sources interview published Monday and penned by columnist Gregory Clay. In the interview, Taylor speaks frankly about what might be in store for historically black colleges in dealing with the new leader of the free world and the Republican Party and is “optimistic.”
“I am optimistic that, under a Trump administration, HBCUs will be a higher education priority as they have been in past Republican administrations,” Taylor told Clay, addressing what he thinks the Donald Trump administration means for the future of HBCUs. Taylor says he will not miss the Obama administration.
“I am on-record regarding my frustrations with (the Obama) administration’s relationship with, and treatment of, HBCUs over the past eight years,” he said in the interview. “So I’d prefer to deal with how we can influence the Trump administration to ensure our collective HBCU interests are protected and our collective voices heard. We should also never lose sight of the fact that (Thurgood Marshall College Fund), as a higher education advocacy organization, will advocate for HBCUs as aggressively as we have done for the last three decades.”
— TMCF (@tmcf_hbcu) January 20, 2017
Taylor has a history of dealing with Republican government officials. Last week, TMCF shared a picture on Twitter of him and billionaire Charles Koch, who is a highly influential conservative donor, shaking hands and announcing a major new partnership that will impact HBCUs across the country. The massive $25.6 million donation to HBCUs from Koch is for the purpose of conducting research on criminal justice and entrepreneurship in cities plagued by high crime.
News of the partnership broke and TMCF continues to face backlash from the HBCU community for dealing with Koch money.
— Johnny C. Taylor, Jr (@JohnnyCTaylorJr) January 19, 2017
When Clay asked Taylor if he has personally dealt with Donald Trump before, Taylor said he has “not personally met” Trump.
“…but I have interacted with key members of his team,” Taylor responded. “I look forward to developing a substantive and positive working relationship with him and his key advisers at the White House as well as other federal agencies. Our work will continue to focus on issues surrounding our HBCUs.”
He continued: “We have three main areas of focus for the new administration: (1) critical infrastructure funding to improve campuses that have suffered from years of deferred maintenance — something we believe will help create jobs that will reduce the stubbornly high unemployment rates in our most fragile communities; (2) education-related funding to remove financial barriers for students seeking to break the cycle of poverty — restoration of year-round Pell Grants and increased resources for non-traditional students; and (3) focus on high school financial aid literacy programs so students from fragile communities make better higher education choices.”
“The best thing the incoming Trump administration can do to most affect HBCUs in a positive manner is invite the HBCU community for an open dialogue at the “policy table,” Taylor said. “This will allow both sides to hear and listen to the HBCU community to get a clear understanding of our needs, and how certain regulatory and public policy proposals could impact HBCUs. For example, we know cutting Pell Grants and making abrupt changes to programs like Parent PLUS are not helpful and cannot happen again for any student.”