tv Adam Harris The State Must Provide CSPAN October 16, 2021 6:55pm-8:02pm EDT
using the search box at the top of the page. >> good evening everyone. and welcome to our online audience. thank you for tuning in tonight. my name is kate and on behalf of harvard bookstore i am very pleased introduced tonight talk with adam harris presenting his debut book the state must provide. why america's colleges have
always been unequal and how to set them right. joint and conversation by natasha. virtual events like tonight's harvard bookstore continues to bring authors and their work to our ever-expanding community. we are spiritual events like tonight five times a week. you can fight or event scheduled on her website at harvard.com/events you can sign up for e-mail newsletter or browser bookshelves from home. this evening's event is going to conclude with some time for your questions. if you like to ask our speakers something please go to the q&a button at the top of the screen where you can submit a question. we are going to get there as many as time allows for this evening. also a reminder if you like closed captions you can click the live transcript tab at the bottom of your resume screen to enable them. in just a moment i'll be hosting a link to purchase tonight's featured book and a chat box. your book and ticket purchases make virtual author events
like this possible. and now more than ever supports the future of landmark bookstore. thank you for tuning in during the strange virtual times. we sincerely appreciate the support now and always. and finally, age of certainly experiencing virtual gatherings technical issues can arise. and if they do i will be do my best to resolve it quickly. so thank you for your patience and understanding. and now i am delighted to interest in that speaker. pricer is brilliant storytelling adam harris is a step writer at the atlantic covering education and national politics. part of the atlantic is reported at chronicle of higher education and worked at public. 2021 new america fellow and recipient of the rising star award by the news media alliance he's also a frequent guest on cbs news, msnbc and radio stations nationwide. tonight he's in conversation
by author and educator natasha. she is professor of sociology tufts university former guggenheim fellow and author most recently of the diversity bargain and other dilemmas of race, admissions and meritocracy at elite universities but tonight that she will be discussing adams a debut book the state must provide. of the book george packer writes adam harris is a kind of journalist we most need meticulous in his research, careful in his thinking, passionate indecision. this book is a powerful, quietly angry, revelatory and utterly persuasive. as a book that chronicles the legal, social and political erected to block equitable education and the united states, clint smith calls it an valuable text from a supremely talented writer. we're so pleased to be hosting this event tonight. so that further ado adam and natasha digital podium is yours.
>> thank you so much. it is great to be joined by all of you this evening. i want to start actually by looking through this but there's a couple readings i wanted to do. the first to set the stage for the book opens in the introduction with aware of some of these ideas came from where my first ideas to write this book came from. it starts on the campus and hudsonville warhead undergraduate education, or my sister was educated or my uncle was a drum major my mom went to school. and this is an 1875. about when i go to the university of alabama and i'm right down the street. so imagine you are there, you're driving ten minutes down the road to an institution that was founded 75 years after your own.
it's like lifting a veil their newly constructed buildings, the grass was finally manicured and the school look like it received a facelift within the last few years or at the very least had benefited from some good maintenance. one site settled in at the libra did a little bit of digging. it was founded in the 1950s in part because segregation was the law. their two colleges for black students in the city oakwood university a private seventh-day adventist college in alabama a&m which is publicly funded. but white students could not attend either. segregated black and white students is known to section 256. has not officially implement in 1901 the state adopted its constitution walking into an educational system with no educational clout at all is bit unwritten rule before the civil war. several states to teach enslaved people but south carolina was a first in 1740, georgia filed in 1759. 1833 alabama institute up to
$500 as punishment for those cut teaching enslaved people to read. north carolina band educating black people altogether. the band did not stop black people though. they began learning in secret. when slavery ended discriminates and stayed so did the thirst for learning. southern states throw up every barrier they could to education. and black people broke them down time and time again. northern states erected barriers too. even if not always as overtly. jump forward a little bit : :
arguing that if a black student wants to attend a law school in oklahoma it will just take some time, they will have to wait for it and he is rebutting that argument saying how do you expect them to set up a law school and the state admits they have no money to establish a law school besides the cost of setting up the school isn't the citizens problem. we do not compose the dual education and if it is expensive it is not our fault. i think that line, that after all this history yes it will be expensive to just think about the proposition of educational equity is important because it is not the responsibility of those that had the system placed upon them but those that placed the system.
i'm excited for the conversation and look forward to joining you all. >> thank you and thank you to the bookstore and adam for inviting us to this discussion of the marvelous book i said this earlier but i want to reiterate this is a well-written and infuriating and heartbreaking story about the fight to integrate higher education. so, this story is about the way that it's a story that we kind of know who studies higher education and knew about the exclusion of african-americans and even at the g.i. bill this
book tells a story in a gripping way and details i had no idea about so it was a really important one. when the u.s. higher education was expanding which created all these state universities including the university of alabama these were created at a time of legal segregation and state universities in order to expand higher education and this is way back in the second half of the century and then fast fast-forward, 1944 g.i. bill higher education is seen as a tool for social mobility, but doesn't have a nondiscrimination clause so this is under legal
segregation. so there's a devastating story of an attempt over and over again to gain access to equitable higher education and particularly in the south although he points out in the north there is always one or two or three admitted but they were also effectively shut out if not by law than other mechanisms. the southern politician, the university administrators went to these extreme lengths to keep african-americans out. they tried to sending them out of state for education and when they couldn't do that they try to separate but equal because that was allowed when they couldn't do that they established they were never close to being equal and then the students that have separate
classes it's sickening how the states and the leaders were to lead to enforcing racial segregation. but there's also a story of perseverance. but i think that the real heartbreak is that we are not in the situation that we were in terms of the legal segregation. we were far from equity even today. adam talked about that story at the beginning and as i read i kept noting these parallels seen as an hbc you and family members had gone and you always thought you were going to go and then suddenly going to this
historically white college and seeing this massive difference. they could see the different conditions at the college and unfortunately we are at a time where we are seeing declining enrollments in higher education especially open enrollment colleges where the majority of african-american students are going to college and also community colleges and open access college where the majority of the students are attending so just to give you some data and public policy
institutes found three quarters attend open access and just nine per% attend so compared to 25% of white. i think in general kind of as academics and also journalists, academics are so focused on elite colleges and i'm totally guilty of that. the real story of higher education is the extent that you are talking about because this is where social mobility is going to happen. it's happening at places like harvard where there is an underrepresentation. and you know, then given the pandemic we have declining enrollment in these colleges and again financial crisis so i
tried for months to access files on the history of two hbcus for southern women. the responses to the racial justice system because the archives of those colleges were so much more just accessible. they had more resources and staff to be able to get. there are so many ways in which this affects colleges that we don't even see. in contrast, i remember from the development office saying we are about to do a capital campaign. what should we ask for. what they don't say in the book is one of the mandates about a percentage of donations to other
colleges to say whatever donations you get you have to donate to an open enrollment college or hcb you because the sort of cycle of inequality is perpetuated through donations. so i think this book -- i also another book that came to mind as i read this book was all about the for-profit higher education sector that sort of praise on and creates false hope for the most disadvantaged in our society including working-class african-americans. although i think this book is an incredibly important story from the ivy league and elite. i'm so glad you wrote this book. i think everybody needs to read it and this story is so
important as we think about the future of higher education. i thought i would just ask a few questions and then we can open it up to join all of you listening as well. so, i would just like to hear you talk a little bit about how you came to write this book. like was it that moment where you thought this is crazy. i know you covered higher education. what is the process, how did you come to this? >> thank you so much for the conversation. that moment was a sort of genesis of this book. it puts a bug in my mind not only of the general character
but you dig a little bit more and see that it had a larger endowment funded 75 years after my own and thinking about the ways that it builds upon itself and it's sort of an interesting bug about media being melodramatic. as i got into covering higher education, i covered those that covered federal higher education policies and i was able to see the federal and state policy as well as these court decisions really shaped the landscape of higher education and there were these callbacks over time of things like the green space. so i did the last story it was about those in mississippi that had the longest running case to
basically prove what it was to purchase the federal government that was desegregated. the black colleges in mississippi and 1975 and by 2002 they settled and effectively they got $500 million over 17 years split between the institutions and to put them into the context they had made $500 million in five years private donations and so to think that they were going to eliminate was $500 million didn't strike me and then on top of that there were little things in the settlement and the fact they were supposed to raise a $35 million endowment and to that point they raised something like $750,000 and now it will phase out next year and they've only raised a million dollars.
knowing that and after writing the story, knowing there were some states that hadn't desegregated the system and it really led me to digging a little bit deeper, knowing my experience and how that experience more broadly impacted the institutions they had attended. >> one of those things that i agreed with applied to the super rich universities. i don't think that trump was going to give that money but if the president said we are going to take that money and invest it, i would be 100% behind it. >> we should be thinking about ways to make sure that it's
baked into the funding mechanisms that they have. if there is a large share attending colleges one of the 12 predominant institutions and 25% of black students in the state attend one of the five hbcus and 52% who attend one of the public community colleges so if you think about the way the state funding models exercise equity in that and for institutions like ole ms. this is a college that in 1870 when the faculty was actually saying we would rather resign, we would rather this institution closed and admit meanwhile the state legislature is shoring the guaranteed $50,000
appropriations for decade of $50,000 [inaudible] they were given the guaranteed appropriation. they shorted to 15,000 in 1875 and down to $5,500 in 1876 so we start to see that strategy created and you wonder whether that institution was benefiting from additional funding while this other institution in the same state both public institutions saying shorted and wonder if they really dig into that responsibility. and i'm going to let him out of the office really quickly. [laughter] sorry about that.
maybe you can talk a little bit now about how you did this research and found out about all of these stories, speaking about the story of lloyd gaines, who is the plaintiff in the case that leads to the supreme court to get access to a graduate program if i remember correctly. his life is on hold for years. he can to get a job because his name is in paint and he eventually disappears. it made me curious about how you find these stories and what was the research like for you? >> digging into the university
archives and records at the library of congress as well as digging into old newspapers. i can't say enough about the archivists as it made things a lot easier. but for a lot of these stories, some of them we know who george washington carver is but not how he connects to the land grant system but not for 30 years because the federal government wasn't requiring them to and when they do it is george washington carver. so, this was one of the first cases in the naacp separate but equal and the education required
these were some of the building blocks of the decision so if you are thinking about that case and the fact they didn't even have a separate institution where he could attend. they were doing this scheme of sending black students out of state and that had its own repercussions for the institution that they attended. so, in kentucky they set appropriate $5,000 to send students out for the education but we are also going to take $5,000 from the budget and ultimately won't spend the whole $5,000 since it is out-of-state so i think that it was moving his story beyond simply the case law. understanding that the people that are involved in these fights it takes a personal toll on them as well. you talk about that letter that he wrote to his mom and this is one of the last times he ever speaks to him or his family and says i am just a man.
it really speaks to the difficulty internally as well as the public space of these things. his education was put on hold and the best way to study the law and to be able to hear in that state i want to practice. learn how to be a lawyer. the last thing speaking about their stories from george mclaurin to lloyd gaines it isn't much different than what students want now to receive a proper education and live out their dreams to be a lawyer. he was on the tail end trying to
get an additional education. he had already been a professor but they were really trying to do some of the things students nowadays want. when you think about higher education in the abstract people lose sight of the fact that these people were fighting tooth and nail over something that the constitution says according to the amendment is required that the state is providing this education and it comes from the state must provide an education in accordance with the amendment. as soon it does and for so long. the kind of people that were news to me is how integrated the quest to integrate was for
higher education and that these cases were the kind of building blocks around brown v board of ed. i wasn't aware of that and this is a story that is not so much focus on k-12 that we forget having an education as well. >> the reason we chose higher ed is because it was so clear-cut if you believe the lives everybody told the first thing they have to do is present a separate institution. fundamentally, we are not doing that. they said at the beginning that comes from him saying the state hasn't created a separate institution and now the same state that isn't even willing to create the institution is to create a separate institution and make it equal as a sort of
provocation that ended up bearing out because when the supreme court said you have to create a separate institution, the state does so in five days they ran out of room and the state capital faculty members for what would be full-time work and it is equal to the one that's been at the university of oklahoma for more than 50 years. so it is a level the states really went to to play into this lie of separate but equal when they were not even peddling and didn't have a separate law school but we want you to believe the lie of separate but equal because that is what is propping up and maintaining our segregated institutions. >> it smells amazing how great
of lengths they went [inaudible] >> i think we might be frozen. >> to pick up on what she was saying, the length that these institutions went to to maintain segregation attending not long after that they integrate the university but they ultimately put him in a room off to the side. thurgood marshall said that man is peeking into the classroom and after the supreme court says
they can't do that, they put a little railing in the classroom to segregate black and white students as a sort of commitment to segregated education but fast forward to now we have to think about the ways that history is, where it's no longer by law, they no longer have a sort of monopoly on the black education, but the predominantly white institutions that have a lot of funding that receive healthy state funding in the private institutions are still enrolled for the black students in a place like arbor university and the 1980s on the same day that bo jackson was the best football player in the country. the federal judge said it was the most segregated institution in the state of alabama. fast forward to 2002, there were
not many more students in 1985 and now they had more than they did in 2002. so, thinking about the ways that that legacy is and you know, it speaks to the situation. that foundation of america and the colleges continuing on to the current day. imagine we are trying to get natasha back now but i also see that we are starting to get [inaudible] >> i'm not sure how we want to handle that. >> i think i am hearing there was a brief power outage and then it came back on, so i am hoping that is what is happening but i will keep an eye out. we had a question from an anonymous attendee about what policies we should be prioritizing in order to
equitably fund the education for all students and just a reminder to everyone watching if you have further questions that we haven't gotten to yet, please send them here. >> a couple of things. states should be looking at the performance-based funding model. a lot of states think about how many of the institution has two graduation rates. if you are only serving students from that top 10% of income households [inaudible] i think it is going to be a very different result in terms of
what students actually can do and what supports they need. the hcb use and like 60% more like 80% of the more eligible so it came about how the institutions are being funded. then on top of that, the federal government and the bills working through the legislature right now with the representative which would help rebuild the sort of infrastructure that is used, but i think that we are thinking about the legislation that holds up through the state funding model is incredibly important to build that equity. >> thank you for that.
did we lose natasha or is she still here? >> i think she's here but with her camera off. >> maybe not. >> sorry for the hick up. you handled it incredibly smoothly. we have a question from the audience. in addition to the public education and investments what can the universities and endowment to do to make a difference in the communities based on the broad educational landscape? >> a lot of institutions in the last several years have undertaken these sort of examinations. the university of virginia and a couple of years ago where you can't imagine the university of virginia with the sort of basis
of slavery. for those institutions i think that there is a very vital role to play with the funding mechanism for the defendants of the people sold in order to keep the university of float. but i think that there may be more to do for the institutions that were serving black and brown students as these institutions were keeping them out there is some responsibility in order to help prop them up because the institutions are still doing remarkable work to educate that student population. as i mentioned, in a place like oklahoma, the public college, the land-grant institution, they have a black enrollment of something like 1450 students. putting that enrollment in context, the university of oklahoma and oklahoma state university combined only had a couple hundred more than at
langston university and to 40,000 enrollment combined so thinking about those institutions for particularly the request to think about ways to help other institutions and this is also the other thing on that point. i had a conversation a couple of years ago where she talked about universities as sort of truth telling and one of the functions universities don't tell the truth and just become another corrupt institution that deserves so as the institutions are going through that work of uncovering the history of telling the truth about where they've been and where they need
to go, i think that aiding these other institutions that have done such significant work for black and brown students should sit squarely into that. >> we actually have a follow-up question in the audience. she says i love to hear you discuss performance-based funding in the context of equity. it is antithetical to equity as warranted but product designs. can you speak a little bit more to how the performance funding models can enhance equity? >> absolutely. i think that in relation to if you think about building the performance-based funding model around the number of low income students were percentage of low income students as and rolling
rather than assaying the university of kentucky have a lot of students to graduate on time but they are also the top ten students from the institutions to be prepared for college, so to say yes we want to build it around the number of marginalized and minor ties to students with black and brown students and the percentage of low-income students, the amount of first generation students that he must have and if you have that upfront rather than trying to build it into the backend of the system because that is often times what we see where the state will have their funding model and try to rethink and put equity into it already which in a lot of ways is a problem that we had the sort of an equity is propulsive. one of the institutions i
highlighted the bug is not an hbc you. it is an institution that kind of carries all the way through the book and partly because contrary, a lot of higher education had that idea of equity equality in its initial formulation like the founder of the college built in on god made one blood of all the people of the earth and created the first interracial -- integrated college and this is in the 1850s, so it's not to say that people were not thinking about educational equity back then. but to think about where they are now where the institution hasn't charged in 1892. it's an institution that is almost back to being a 5050 institution and 50% and a mix of black students, brown students, international students and they
are thinking about these ideas. if we have that reoriented to that original mission to learn a new, policymakers could put us in a better place in terms of how it can be done. >> a question from the audience, to combat the underfunding of hbcus and under enrollment at the schools. >> i think so. it is the cancellation conversation is in part because when we think about those more likely to take on student debt, more student debt and default on their loan after they leave college with her that is with a
degree or without that credential that gives them that boost. i think is a fundamental level, that is an ethnic conversation that would be beneficial. but you can have that kind of conversation in isolation. it needs to be had in conversations with the debt-free tuition model so luckily a lot of the college models that have been proposed on the campaign trail that have been tossed around in recent months really did focus on and include the formulation that kind of point to that historic work that these institutions have done in producing 25% of graduates and 80% of black judges coming from the hbcus even today. so, if we think if we ensure
they kind of continue and they are major pieces in that conversation not just peripheral that starts from that legacy of underfunding but i think more than that they need to be large injections because of that legacy of underfunding and because that legacy is incredibly recent. when it made the jump in 2004 and a 2005 to become a high research producing activity institution, they were not getting any additional funding by the state. when two public predominantly white institutions did the same thing a year or two years later respectively, there were
$18 million apiece to make that jump to become higher research institutions and north carolina is still fighting to this day in the current legislation to get back to the funding that the predominantly white institutions were afforded. they've done 2.5 million to this point. so thinking about that legacy of underfunding and the current underfunding, there need to be large injections to these institutions. a. >> i am so sorry. it went down and everybody was on their cell phone. you probably saw me for a second. i probably missed some of the discussions. you may have answered my last burning questions that i want to ask and if you already answered it, we can move on. i should say i can't see any of
the questions so maybe -- >> we were going through audience q and a as you were gone. >> okay. i would love to hear what you hope will come as a result of the book. more broadly just in general and in particular what do you want to see happen given what you know about higher education in the united states? >> that is a great question. it's like my first thought with the book was i wanted to put one in place. just some of how higher education came to be and as you mentioned earlier a lot of these are things we have known about but putting them all in conversations with each other to really connect the dots. and i think having this for a general audience, it can serve as a guide to understanding the
ways that i write in the book the discrimination has been twisting to fit within the confines of the system that it's given. the way that that has happened and the way that it is still happening, and i would hope that this book moves policymakers to think differently about the way that they are funding public institution and philanthropists in different ways that they are thinking about their own. last year it was a phenomenal year by any stretch for a lot of hbcus. it was a phenomenal year. a lot of institutions had their largest ever donations. but you have to think about whether or not that continues.
we cannot necessarily rely on that opportunity to sustain but i think that i would hope it leaves policymakers to think about the funding for hbcus and other institutions that are serving and have historically served black and brown students to think about how they are equitably funding those institutions but also for institutions that have benefited from years of being able. thinking about what they owe to be an institution. i know they started with the university slavery but to think about the fact that this goes deeper and the way we think about the history is incredibly important but there also has to be a financial piece to this because so much of this is
financial and i just think about the ways that states studied the financial piece of this time and time again. so what would it take in the early 1800s to bring them up to the standards and he says it is fire prone and the boys dorm is in a puddle. the buildings are old. i hope that this book will move states to know that you can't sort of bargain your way out of this and yes it's going to be expensive and those that
benefited to fix it. >> it's even this whole amount of university budgets on the endowments and on philanthropy it is a weird financial model and i just think about the way that the higher education system works. the spending is regressive to spend the least amount of money on our community colleges and hbcus. they are the engines of social mobility and have the students with the most need in terms of academic enrichment and financial security like meeting
and basic costs of living. it makes it so hard to address it. i don't know, i think about that with respect to all of these can't afford to not invent more because they can't afford it. even a place like harvard, i mean, but all these places like they rely on a certain percentage that can see [inaudible] they assume that's what they are going to have and they are running on these endowments and donations.
it just seems like such an uphill battle in the way that they are structured. >> to your point earlier thinking about how those institutions can help if some of these very well endowed institutions take up a billion dollars a year and return on their endowment investment and so the thing about that and the way that it has momentum there are conversations to be had about maybe the percentage of the endowment returns for the percentage of the donations that the institutions receive, especially the unrestricted request. yes, donations are tied to two different things but for those
that are not tied to anything i think there needs to be a conversation had about what is our responsibility and what has been our responsibility in promoting this and how can we address that? we are taking 10% of that and donating it to texas a&m. that would be okay and that would be the right thing to do. >> they ultimately were able to do it as a herculean effort.
in the role of philanthropy and thinking about how they are running institutions, michael bloomberg gave more than a billion dollars in one fell swoop to john hopkins. if you distributed that to all of the 100 hbcus, it isn't a lot of money for them, but it is a significant sum. for some institutions it would have been the largest ever single donation. my oldest institution just a couple of weeks ago received the largest donations in its history of $2.2 million and this was the largest ever single donation and it's almost 150 year history. so, thinking about that and the fact people often point to philanthropy for a possible solution to put it straight to your endowment, i think that we have to think more extensively about the redistribution of
endowment or you know, how we are pushing philanthropy towards giving to institutions. >> totally with you. we probably have time for one last question from someone in the audience who i'm going to read both of them to you and then you can feel free to answer whatever the last few minutes that we have. i'm curious about the research and educational funding and inequality also comes as funding for public and high school and the difference between the problems there and higher ed. mike writes i would suggest the 10% be an opt out on all contributions. i'm totally with you, mike. it might be more effective. >> i think i would agree with
that as well. you have it as an opt out and actually to the first question, you know, i actually thought in my job in the atlantic over the last several years the difference is at least 25% or more are coming from the local tax dollars and in some places it would be more so if you are looking at a place like westlake and austin, they are going to have more funding coming from those tax dollars. so i think that the similarities and differences, there are some similarities where it's at a state level more aligned with equity and their missions in terms of funding particularly for public institutions. you know, i think that that
central piece, k-12 not being as locally defined in terms of its funding and moving towards something that if the tax dollars were polled and then distributed equitably that is a possibility. one of the interesting things often times people focus on the department of education and k-12 when in reality the department has more say over higher education and elected general policy in the higher education. i think if we move to a better understanding of what the federal government is supposed to be doing, 10% of the school district funding comes from some of the federal government where two things about the regulatory responsibility in the federal government, a lot of that is derived from higher education
including civil rights oversight. so, one of the things i touch on in the book and i talked about a lot recently is the fact the federal government needs to sort of fulfill its responsibility to investigate the public education system and k-12 in order to ensure that those in are not lingering. several have settled their way out of the federal monitoring but have not fundamentally lived up to those agreements settled in 1980 and not fulfilling its promises for enrollment and predominantly white institutions of black students. and mississippi in 2002 hasn't lived up to its endowment. in the federal monitoring but they haven't lived up to the
agreements of the settlements it may be time for the federal government to reopen the cases. >> such an important thing to think about and urgent as we think about the future of the economic downturn. such a really important story and an amazing book. everyone click on that link in the chat and order a copy. and thank you for writing this book and for inviting me and having me as a part of this important conversation. >> thank you for sharing this knowledge and both of your