America's black colleges are struggling for funds. The Republican Party is struggling to attract black voters.
Enter a $25 million gift to the United Negro College Fund from the conservative Koch brothers, which has pitted the needs of black students against liberals' insistence that the Kochs are pursuing a racist political agenda.
Whether genuine philanthropy, political jujitsu or some of both, the gift sparked a debate that peaked when Lee Saunders, president of the powerful American Federation for State, County and Municipal Employees union, sent the UNCF a blistering letter ending the union's financial support.
Historically black colleges and universities have educated a huge percentage of black America. Today, HBCUs are facing unprecedented challenges: decreases in government funding, tougher parent loan eligibility, and the threat of losing even more federal aid based on low retention and graduation rates.
In this environment, how could the UNCF turn down $25 million? Read more: Black colleges face hard choices on $25 million gift from Koch brothers