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Presidential Opinion – The Airport is Closed

Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis | Published to HBCU Digest

HBCU campuses are typically as busy as most major airports.  Classes are in full swing, food service is up and running, the bookstore is open, and the student center is thriving.  Band, sports, chorales and Greek life add color to the teeming campus, while Student Government Association, debate, academic clubs and honor societies add texture to the fabric of the HBCU experience.  

People coming and going – a virtual hive of activity. 

As far as analogies go, an airport is an apt reference.  The Board of Trustees acts as air traffic control, governing our flight patterns and accreditors are the equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration.   The President is the pilot and the students are the passengers.  The staff and faculty work in various roles from gate agents, to grounds crews to flight attendants, deftly guiding students as they travel their respective intellectual journeys.  All function in their various roles to ensure that our passengers get to their graduation destination.  Some will have more than one connection; and some will be delayed, but all will travel toward the achievement of the credential that will be their ticket to the next leg of their personal or professional journeys. 

The flight is often turbulent for HBCU communities.  Some of the airplanes are dated and many are not equipped with charging stations and in-flight entertainment.  Limited snack options are available to passengers and upgrades are rare.  Despite these minor inconveniences, the ticket agents and attendants more than make up for these limitations by delivering clear and caring instruction and going above and beyond to ensure that passengers are comfortable – intellectually and culturally.

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