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Alcorn State University, John Polk, HBCU Senate Bill 2726, Mississippi,

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A recently proposed bill in the Mississippi State Legislature could potentially result in the closure of three historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The institutions at risk include Mississippi Valley State University, Alcorn State University and Jackson State University.

If passed, Senate Bill 2726, would require the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (BTSIHL) to select three schools for closure by June 2025, according to LegiScan. Before announcing their decision, the BTSIHL will carefully assess factors such as enrollment data, economic impact and the types of degrees offered at each institution to see if they have positively impacted residents of the state. There will be a mandatory listening session held on the campus of each institution to address concerns about the pending bill. If the act is approved, it will come into effect on July 1, 2024.

During an interview with HBCU Buzz, Jennifer Riley Collins, a HUD Regional Administrator and alumni of Alcorn State University, said there could be grave consequences if Senate Bill 2726 passes.

“The criteria stated within the bill places Alcorn and other HBCUs at high risk if the bill becomes law. This bill does not need to make it out of the current house,” Collins penned to the outlet. The HBCU advocate called for alumni and students of the affected schools to stand up and fight back against the proposed legislation.

“It is our First Amendment right to use our collective and individual voices to speak up for the continued viability of the school we love. Please contact legislators and call for the bill to die,” she added.


Mississippi Senator John Polk is responsible for the bill.

Senate Bill 2726 was put forth by state Senator John Polk, a Republican and representative of Mississippi State Senate’s District 44. Polk, who was first elected to his seat in 2012, was assigned to the Senate Universities and College Committee in 2019, according to Ballotpedia. His current term ends on Jan. 4, 2028.

The potential closure of these Mississippi HBCUs raises crucial questions about the future of minority education access, cultural heritage, economic impact and the pursuit of knowledge and innovation. Historically, HBCUs have been beacons of hope for African American and minority students, offering opportunities for higher education when other avenues were often closed. The closure of these institutions could severely limit educational access for minority students, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds.

HBCUs also play a vital role in preserving and promoting African American culture, heritage and identity. They provide supportive environments where students can celebrate their heritage and feel a sense of belonging. The closure of HBCUs would not only disrupt these communities but also erase a significant part of African American history and culture.


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