National News - Page 2

Kamala Harris visits Puerto Rico for first time as vice president

By Nicole Acevedo Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Puerto Rico early Friday afternoon to embark on her first visit to the U.S. territory since being sworn in three years ago. According to her office, the purpose of the trip is to highlight President Joe Biden’s “commitment to supporting Puerto Rico’s recovery” following hurricanes, earthquakes and the Covid-19 pandemic — with a special focus in promoting the administration’s investments on the island’s infrastructure and economic recovery initiatives. Her five-hour trip included a visit to an area in the town of CanĂłvanas that received federal housing funds disbursed by the Biden administration to

Alabama bans DEI programs in public colleges and the teaching of ‘divisive concepts’

By Curtis Bunn Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill Wednesday making hers the latest state to enact bans on diversity, equity and inclusion programs in public colleges and offices. SB 129 requires that DEI offices and initiatives funded by public colleges or government agencies be eliminated or vastly changed. It also seeks to minimize teachings around race, gender or identity, which the bill calls called “divisive concepts.” The Republican-led Legislature passed the bill Tuesday over pushback from Democrats. It will go into effect Oct. 1. The bill classifies “divisive concepts” as assigning “fault, blame or bias” to any race, religion, gender

Virginia Bans Legacy Admissions at Public Colleges, Universities

Written by Evan Castillio Virginia has banned legacy admissions at its public colleges and universities. Along with 63 other bills, Gov. Glenn Youngkin on March 8 signed House Bill 48 (HB 48). The bill was introduced by state Del. Dan Helmer and bans legacy admissions at the state’s public higher education institutions. The Virginia Senate unanimously voted to pass it in late January, after earlier approval from the House of Delegates. The bill was then signed into law by the governor and goes into effect July 1. “Virginia showed we could work in a bipartisan way to end the practice of legacy preferences,” state Sen.

Biden Administration Expands Federal Registered Apprenticeships

Written By Bennett Leckrone An apprenticeship can offer students real-world experience and an affordable path to employment — and a new executive order is set to expand those programs in the federal government. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in early March that aims to create more registered apprenticeships in the federal government and promotes the hiring of students who participated in those programs. Registered apprenticeships “are a proven strategy to expand equitable training pathways to good-paying jobs, including union jobs,” a Biden administration fact sheet on the executive order reads. Bolstering registered apprenticeships has been a major workforce strategy for the Biden

Biden Budget Proposes Pell Grant Increase, More Money for HBCUs

By Matthew Arrojas President Joe Biden is pushing for continued investment in college affordability and access, but to a lesser extent than in past years. Biden released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 on Monday. While his higher education priorities like college affordability and support for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) seemingly remain unchanged from past years, his budget notably dials back the sticker price of many of his priorities. He requested a $750 increase to the maximum Pell Grant, which would bring the maximum award to $8,145 annually. For reference, he called for a $820 increase in his fiscal year 2024 budget proposal.

Congresswoman Nikema Williams Proposes New Grant Intended To Help Entrepreneurs From HBCUs

By Christopher Rhodes Black entrepreneurs often face significant hurdles to starting new businesses, but Congress may make things a bit easier. Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-GA) hopes to support Black-owned businesses by creating a new federal grant to HBCUs to fund these endeavors, and her plan has already gained traction. Grants for minority-owned businesses As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rep. Williams introduced the Minority Entrepreneurship Grant Program Act on Nov. 17. As proposed, the act would set up a new program within the Small Business Administration to provide grants to students seeking to start businesses. The grants would be available to HBCUs and other minority student

NAACP calls on Black student-athletes to boycott Florida public colleges over anti-DEI policy

By Daniel Arkin The head of the NAACP is calling on Black student-athletes to reconsider their decisions to attend public colleges and universities in Florida, challenging a new state policy that bars those institutions from using government funds on diversity, equity and inclusion programs. In a letter sent Monday to current and future student-athletes of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, NAACP leader Derrick Johnson implored college-bound Black athletes to “choose wisely.” “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount to ensuring equitable and effective educational outcomes,” Johnson said in a statement accompanying the letter, which was first reported by NBC News. “The value

Senate Bill 2726 Naming Three Mississippi HBCUs Dies At State’s Capitol

By Quintessa Williams Senate Bill 2726, naming eight public universities, three of which were historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University, and Jackson State University in the state, failed to pass at the state’s Capitol. On Monday, the Senate instead moved Senate Bill 2725, (introduced by Sen. Nicole Boyd) which would establish a taskforce made up of several appointees and lawmakers to study the “efficiency and effectiveness” of the state’s eight public schools regarding enrollment, graduation rates, and how many students actually stay in the state after they leave college. “We had hearings earlier this year where we were looking at things, and

Vice President Kamala Harris to join in marking anniversary of Bloody Sunday on Alabama bridge

Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to be among those marking the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the day Alabama law officers attacked Civil Rights demonstrators on the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The demonstrators were beaten by officers as they tried to march across Alabama on March 7, 1965, in support of voting rights. A march across the bridge, which is a highlight of the commemoration in Selma every year, is planned for Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s march is among dozens of events during the annual Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which began Thursday and culminates Sunday. The events

VP Kamala Hosts 2nd Annual Black History X HBCU Celebration At The White House

By Quintessa Williams As a tribute to the legacy and ongoing impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a reception to mark the conclusion of Black History Month. On Thursday, February 29th, the event held at the Vice Presidential residence witnessed the gathering of 100 HBCU students, alumni, and notable figures all celebrating the profound impact these institutions have on shaping the nation’s future. In her speech during the celebration, Harris emphasized the crucial role of HBCUs in American society while commending the students and pioneers for their contributions. The reception was attended by distinguished guests from academia, government, politics,