Bennett College, a liberal arts HBCU in Greensboro, North Carolina, has been educating Black women for 146 years with the mission of providing “purpose, integrity and a strong sense of self-worth.”
The institution is currently facing a crisis that jeopardizes the education of each member of its student body. Bennett, which has been on probation for two years because of financial hardships, may lose its accreditation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission announced on Dec. 11.
“The only thing we can do between now and Feb. 1 is to impact our financial resources and we need about $5 million—at least $5 million—to stabilize the institution,” Dr. Phyllis Dawkins, the college’s president, told My Fox 8 on Jan. 2. “Between Dec. 11 to the present, we’ve raised almost a half million dollars in that short period of time.”
In addition to celebrities and alumnae who have voiced their support for Bennett, the college is also receiving support from some EBONY HBCU Campus Queens and Kings.
Campus Queens Jada Brown, a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, and Jasmine Moss, a junior at Wilberforce University, are standing in solidarity with Bennett Queen Brooke Kane, and they are willing to forfeit the votes they received to give to her.
“I have decided to join in on FORFEITING my votes to be in Ebony Magazine to help Miss Bennett receive a spot in the magazine,” Moss wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “If the magazine cannot transfer my votes I ask my student body and supporters to please vote for Miss Bennett to be in @ebonymagazine to help shed light on the situation AND donate so that they do not lose their accreditation. Anything helps!! If you attended an HBCU you shouldn’t have to think twice about this.”
Kane, a senior and political science major, has worked tirelessly to try to save her school, which she called a “the Land of Black Girl Magic—a safe haven for many girls” in a letter to EBONY. The thought of Bennett College closing, she added, “puts great fear in our hearts and minds.”
The school has started a fundraising and social media campaign, “Stand with Bennett”. Dawkins told Winston-Salem public radio station 88.5 WFDD the school has raised 30 percent of the money needed, and that it will hit its goal.
“We are going to raise the money,” said Bennett’s president. “We’ve also reached out to organizations, foundations, corporations, and so we are in the process of negotiating and writing grants, requesting funding from those sources.”
Kane, who serves as the 39th Miss Bennett College, said the school has made a profound impact in the community.
“Our Belle Creed teaches every Belle that strength, wisdom, and compassion are our gifts,” she said. “A Bennett Belle is a phenomenal woman and she is a leader shaped for the future.”
Below is a list of the HBCU Queens and Kings who are standing with Bennett College.
Jada Brown, Miss North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
Australia Say, Miss Fisk University
Ayanna Lyons, Miss University of the District of Columbia
Faith Thomas-Lewis, Miss North Carolina Central University
Imani Cooper, Miss Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
Moriah Batiest, Miss Alcorn University
A’Kira Black, Miss Tougaloo College
Tamia Casey, Miss Lincoln University
Stormy Green, Miss Mississippi Valley State University
Telayah Richards, Miss Harris-Stowe State University
Gabrielle Baker, Miss Jackson State University
Destiny Latimer, Miss Paine College
Jaymi Phillips, Miss Cheyney University
Monique Scott, Miss Bowie State University
Jasmine Moss, Miss Wilberforce University
Ahmani Green, Miss Prairie View A&M University
Licole Bursey, Miss Talladega College
Jacqualyn Townsend, Miss Bethune-Cookman University
Jasmin Carson, Miss Benedict College
Ja’Scotta Jefferson, Miss Virginia State University
Kayla Sampson, Miss Tennessee State University
Taylor Chapman, Miss Central State University
Eva Dickerson, Miss Spelman College
Lashawn Hamb, Miss Texas Southern University
Trinity Gaskins, Miss Virginia Union University
Chinquetta Lewis, Miss Miles College
Jauan Durbin, Mister Blue and White of Spelman
Allen Christian, Mister Fisk University
Myles Millsap, Mister Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
Orlando Sutton Jr., Mister Texas Southern University