Waiting on the Smoke

You are a steward of sound personal finance, but choose to wait to the last minute to balance your personal checking account. Say you are a world class dietitian who has indulged in poor eating habits, only to wait till a annual medical exam to come to the realization that you need better eating habits. These contradictions do not seem to correlate with each other. Why ? If you are a expert or specialist in a certain field, you are expected to be knowledgable in areas concerning your field of study or practice. The same can be said for another industries, such as, higher education, banking, commerce and international trade. If the Great Recession of 2008 has taught Americans anything, it is that the prediction of trends, and forecasting of current business practices must be done to avoid catastrophes . No individual or institution should wait on the smoke to determine that a fire is imminent, not even at Prairie View A&M ( PVAMU).

A professor who no longer teaches at PVAMU once quipped to me in conversation that, if PVAMU were a state run institution akin to a hospital or public high school, PVAMU who be forced into mandatory reform or face foreclosure. With a four year graduation rate for African American males that stands lower than 10%, coupled with the same cohort having a six year graduation rate below 20% red flags should be raised, bells and whilst should alarm those in charge an adherent to best practices is in need.

To be fair and transparent to the issue at hand we shall look at other areas of concern to effectively determine if PVAMU is waiting on smoke to ring an alarm. American Campus Communities, the sole on campus housing provider at PVAMU, has decidedly chosen to increase to gleam a practice from the university itself and raise the amount of rent students pay continuously for the past two years. There are no indications that this practice is going to cease. The prior conclusion can be deduced based on the public, open and advertised student fee meetings PVAMU to gain student opinion on such things like increases in the cost of attendance in  which, American Campus Communities agenda to increase rent was presented. If past is prologue, we must then understand than silence on any issue is compliance on that issue.

In a last effort to assert the premise through this think piece I will leave you with the understanding, that one of the chief responsibilities of higher education is to cultivate the mind, produce members of society to the betterment of the world at large and make solutions worth sharing. One of the best places within any liberal arts or agricultural institution is in the disciplines of humanities and social science. If we look at those disciplines within PVAMU, they are the most underfunded fields of studies in comparison with all other majors offered at the university. The social science students lack adequate scholarships from the university as well as humanities students. The academic buildings in turn, where these majors reside, yes you guessed it, are the oldest and least kept up academic buildings the university keeps in operation.


As I sit in the shadow of the new sixty million dollar stadium, which is set to open at the genesis of the next year’s football stadium, I await the sirens of the College Station Fire Department, because if the leadership in place at PVAMU will not act on the onset of the smoke from the smoldering situation set to combust sooner rather than later here at PVAMU, the leadership of the Texas A&M System will move with a swiftness when fire exposes the ineptness that plagues Prairie View A&M University. This is no Amiri Baraka S.O.S. , this is a emergency room flatline, charging of the defibrillators, reading of the last will in testament in the hopes that a pulse is found. Lord in Heaven knows a pulse is found. You, the reader should hope as well. HBCUs still account for the best the Black community has to offer and we have come too far to die on the operating table.


Brennan E. Wells




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