NASHVILLE, TN — Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover was among a group of HBCU presidents and leaders who witnessed President Donald Trump sign an executive order he says makes “HBCUs an absolute priority in the White House.”

During brief remarks in the Oval Office on Tuesday, President Trump added, “Historically, black colleges and universities are incredibly important institutions. That’s why today I’m thrilled to be signing an executive order to recognize the importance of historically black colleges and universities.”

While similar to other HBCU executive orders of former presidents, this order officially moves the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from the U.S. Department of Education to the White House.

“Our goal as a group was to share our collective concerns with President Trump and his executive leadership directly responsible for educational funding and policies that impact our institutions,” said TSU President Glover. “We hope the executive order represents a real commitment to historically black colleges and universities which makes HBCUs a significant line item in the President’s budget. What HBCUs need is funding, and this is precisely why we made the trip to Washington.”

The signing comes one day after Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hosted representatives from dozens of HBCUs at a “listening session” in the executive office building next door to the White House. The session was hosted by the White House Domestic Policy Council. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund coordinated the initiative on behalf of the HBCUs.

In the session, HBCU leaders discussed ways they can improve education and enhance the infrastructure of their schools. Representatives from Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund and National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education also participated.

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