We takin’ over, y’all. By we, I mean Delaware State University, as they are the first HBCU in history to acquire a predominately white school.
According to WHYY, DSU announced last year that it intended to acquire Wesley College and it officially completed its takeover late last week. As a result of the takeover, DSU will gain 50 acres, 21 buildings, 14 academic programs, as well as 71 former Wesley faculty and staff members. “This is an unprecedented landmark in the long history of HBCUs,” former DSU president Harry Williams told WHYY. “I am not surprised that Delaware State University is leading the way.”
The only time a similar situation has occurred was in 1977, and that was only because a court ordered that the University of Tennessee at Nashville merge with Tennessee State University.
In 2019, DSU’s enrollment topped 5,000 for the first time, with 5,027 students attending its undergraduate, graduate and online programs throughout the pandemic. “My intention is to grow our institution to about 10,000 folks over the next couple years, and this is a jump-start to that opportunity,” DSU president Tony Allen told the news outlet. “There is real, and I do mean real, opportunity for us to grow the organization and to do that smartly.”
As of now, 80 percent of Wesley’s student population is expected to join DSU. 397 former Wesley students are already continuing their studies at DSU and another 85 are currently in the registration process. One of the key benefits for Wesley students as a result of the takeover was a lower tuition rate, with a year of undergrad costing Wesley students $43,000 on average compared to around $24,000 at DSU.
“I’m very excited about what this prospect brings for more students who need an open door, just need an opportunity to change their economic trajectory for themselves, their families, and their communities,” Allen said.
The former Wesley campus will now be home to the Wesley College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. The university chose to keep the Wesley name on the school to honor the college’s history and legacy. The new school will combine nursing, occupational therapy, social work, and various health programs from both schools.
I can’t front, this is all really cool and I hope it’s a sign of things to come. HBCUs aren’t necessarily the most well-funded institutions nor the most attended at the moment. With developments like this and Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates joining the faculty of Howard University, hopefully we’re seeing brighter days on the horizon for these necessary and historic institutions.