Bennett College, one of only two existing women-only HBCUs in existence, is in jeopardy of losing its’ accreditation.
A recent assessment by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has said that the university is “fiscally unstable,” according to the school’s former president, Julianne Malveaux. A total of $5 million is reportedly needed by February 1, 2019 in order to keep the school in good standing.
“Bennett College has a unique history, and it is a history that must be preserved,” Malveaux said in an open letter for Black Press USA. “It will only be maintained if folks who love women, women’s history, and the elevation of Black women’s voices come together to find five million dollars in just a few weeks.”
Empire star Jussie Smollett, along with actor and professional chef Jake Smollett, are among those who have publicly joined the fight to save the invaluable HBCU. The brothers recently took to social media to share a of themselves rocking matching #StandWithBennet t-shirts in an effort to help spread awareness and encourage those who can to donate to the cause.
“In the 1930s we had 121
#HBCUs now we’re at 101,” Jussie wrote in captions accompanying the photo on Twitter and Instagram. “Don’t let us be down to 100 if #BennettCollege,who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors.”
Current Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins has led the critical campaign to save the school and has also placed emphasis on the need to not only preserve the institution, but ensure that it is able to thrive.
“We look forward to working with partners who understand that their investment supports the education of deserving young women whose potential is only limited by the opportunities we give them,” Dawkins said. “Our challenge is great. Our time is short. Our resolve is mighty.”
For more information on the rich history of Bennett College and how you can join the fight, read former president Julianne Malveaux’s open letter in full HERE.