PLBC supports Cheney University community in accreditation fight

Highlights importance of nation’s first HBCU

HARRISBURG, Feb. 23 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today stood with Cheney University officials, the student community, Gov. Josh Shapiro and others at a rally in support of efforts to remove the nation’s first historically Black college from probation in its accreditation.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education recently placed Cheyney on probation and gave university officials until March 1 to submit a plan that maps out how they plan to continue educating students should they fully lose their accreditation.

The event acted both as a celebration of the university’s 187th anniversary and a rally to fight back against what they consider unfair and groundless treatment by MSCHE. Rep. Napoleon Nelson, PLBC chairman, and Sen. Vince Hughes, who previously chaired the PLBC and is now the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a Cheyney University Trustee, both offered remarks. PLBC members Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, and Rep. Carol Kazeem, D-Delaware, joined Nelson and Hughes on behalf of the caucus.

According to university officials who also spoke at the event, MSCHE auditors made multiple on-site evaluations at the university last year and offered them a clean bill of health. So it was a complete surprise to them to be placed on probation and threatened with losing their accreditation.

“Cheyney University is the nation’s oldest Historically Black College, but it’s so much more than its legacy,” Nelson said. “Our HBCUs offer hope for the future of so many people in this commonwealth and folks need to know that we stand with them.”