Friday, March 10, 2017

Cheyney University, nation's oldest HBCU having trouble surviving

When Norma George first came to Cheyney University as an international student in the 1980s, she remembers feeling overwhelmed by the sea of students moving across campus when classes changed at 20 minutes past the hour.

Today, that sea is more a trickle.

That really hadn't registered with George, now chair of the university's English Department and director of international programs, until one day last fall.

Standing in the student center near the snack bar over lunchtime, she waited for a flood of people, hoping to give them updates on the faculty contract situation. But the place remained empty. "Where are the students?" she asked a colleague.

With just 746 students, Cheyney's enrollment now is less than half what it was when George was a student there.

That's one reason students, faculty and alumni fear their university -- the nation's oldest black institution of higher education -- may not have a future unless dramatic change happens.

Read more: Can historic Cheyney University survive?

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