The University of Connecticut has been under fire recently after it announced plans to create a new Living and Learning Community for Black male students only.
The SCHOLA2RS House, standing for Scholastic House of Leaders who are African-American Researchers and Scholars, will be UConn’s 18th LLC, and is set to be a part of the university’s NextGen Hall next Fall of 2016.
“Uconn ScHOLA2RS House is a scholastic initiative to groom, nurture, and train the next generation of leaders to address grand challenges in society through the promotion of academic success in undergraduate programs at the University of Connecticut and in competitive graduate programs,” reads the schools website.
In 2012, the graduation rate for all UConn students was 82.5 percent. However the graduation rate for the Black male population of less than 600 stood at 54 percent. Creators of the SCHOLA2RS house say the idea behind this community is to not only change the statistic, but to also encourage African-American males to pursue career in fields where they are underrepresented.
“If you look at other institutions across the country African American males tend to graduate at a lower rate,” says Erik Hines, a professor in the Neag School’s counseling program. “We want to do a lot of intrusive counseling–We will look at their academic preparation, their social emotional development, their growth and their career development.”
Opposition for the house mainly stems from the outside as online commenters go so far as to calling the SCHOLA2RS House “racially segregated housing” while others ask where the “Caucasian Learning Center” is.
David Ouimette, executive director of first year programs and learning communities, defends the program by justifying its reasoning. “You got to get involved in your freshmen year, you’ve got to make friends, you’ve got to get a little bit out of your comfort zone—that’s really what this is going to be all about,” Ouimette said.