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Can a University be Gentrified?

We’ve talked about neighborhoods and gentrification but never Universities and gentrification. This is the claim made by a group called Fair Tuition UDC about the University of the District of Columbia. They write in an email:

Over the past 1 ½ years, UDC has had a change in administration which has produced some of the most drastic tuition increases that has occurred at a public university in recent times. Even though the UDC administration has tried to justify the need for these increases, they have not been fair in administering them. Although law professors have had an increase in salary in order to retain them, The UDC David Clarke School of Law has been spared tuition increases for more than 10 years while the rest of University tuition has been increased several times since 1995.

Now our group has wondered why our elected officials are mum on this topic. Many of our members have come up with numerous reasons for this but mainly the gentrification of UDC seems to stand at the top of the list. Although we here at Fairtuition4UDC do not like to use race/class as an issue, we can not help but notice that the demographics of the law school (majority Caucasian non DC residents) is much different from the demographics of the undergraduate student body (majority African American DC residents). Along with what seems as the “white washing” of the UDC website (only features one black student on the main page) and the new ad campaign that includes an ad that doesn’t even have a black face; we can not help but to think otherwise. We also find this quite ironic for a university that is considered a Historically Black College & University (HBCU). Even though we are for diversity, a blatant misrepresentation of UDC is not only extremely disrespectful to its students, faculty and alumni, but also quite unacceptable.


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