Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been getting a lot of attention lately; from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s public apology to the retirement of Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau to the deafening buzz surrounding homecoming season. Despite the question of their academic relevance, the schools remain significant in the Black community. That’s why Ebony.com has decided to present, in the form of The Yard Report, a roundup of news, happenings, and fun facts surrounding the nation’s 106 historically black colleges.

Check out "The Yard Report" every week to keep abreast of what’s new in the world of HBCUs!

Students at Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Spelman College held nothing back in an Oct. 31 issue of the Maroon Tiger, Morehouse’s student newspaper. The first ever Body Issue, which can be viewed in its entirety here, touches on issues like drug abuse and healthy eating, while showcasing the beauty that lies in accepting one’s body for what it is.  A number of students from the schools posed naked for the publication and shared personal stories about body image, depression, and abuse. “When I was younger, I grew up in a white community in Mississippi. I wasn’t really as accepting of my African American and Jamaican background,”Nduka Vernon told the Maroon Tiger. “I hated my body because of my skin color and becaue it prevented me from fitting in with the people in the community around me.”

In other news, a student was reportedly shot during on the campus of North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was their homecoming weekend. Devin Eatmon, 21, suffered from serious, but non-life threatening wounds, according to the Associated Press, when he was taken from the campus to Moss Cone Hospital, about 2 miles from the main campus. At the time of the shooting, the campus was on lockdown for about an hour, no word on whether or not the suspected shooters are in custody.

In other homecoming related news, Norfolk State University cheerleaders were banned from the sidelines at the school’s homecoming game last weekend amid allegations that the squad has been hazing new members. Parents of the alleged victims told a local news station that their daughters were forced to hold weights for long periods of time and sit in the dark during homecoming activities during the week. At Saturday’s game, the alumni squad performed in the team’s place. “It's not acceptable behavior,” Antionette Towner, an NSU graduate, told WAVY10. “It's not what the school represents,” 

Paul Quinn College in Dallas turned a negative into a positive by converting their abandoned football field into an organic farm. The school’s president Michael Sorrell ended the football program when he began his tenure in 2007 because the school couldn’t afford the $600,000 football budget. Six years later, Legends Hospitality, the largest buyer for the farm, has helped the school run a surplus in four of the past five years, according to Yahoo News. This season alone, the farm is set to produce over 17,500 pounds of food for the Cowboys stadium. ” There are no regrets,” Sorrell said. “We didn't have the resources necessary to change and really build a football program in the way we wanted to do it. This is what was right for us."

Bill Cosby gave the keynote address at Tuskegee University’s Homecoming and Charter Day Convocation on Sunday, dressed in a crimson Tuskegee sweatsuit. Invoking the late James Brown, Cosby urged the members of the audience and all black people to, “Get up. Stay on the scene” and actively determine their own destinies. “We’re not vulgar people. We’re not people who say to our daughters, ‘Go ahead out there with as little clothing as possible,’ ” Cosby said. “Our daughters have to have strength about who they are.” Cosby received the Booker T. Washington Legacy Award by acting president of the University, Dr. Matthew Jenkins.


Briefs: Ms. Full Figured HBCU is seeking plus-size students for their inaugural pageant. [Plus Model Magazine]

The Human Rights Campaign hosted its first ever HBCU LGBT leadership summit over the weekend [LGBT Weekly]

The first HBCU Lacrosse All-Star Classic is scheduled for Nov.17 at Howard University in D.C. [Baltimore Sun