On June 14, 2021, the Board of Trustees of Howard University announced it will be phasing out shared governance structure that has been a cornerstone of the Board’s structure for the past 50 years.

The Howard University Capstone Group, a collaboration of Howard University alumni, faculty, and supporters opposes this action by the Board of Trustees. We believe that the removal and phasing out of the “Affiliate Trustee” to a single unitary class of trustees is an action that will result in a break down in board governance and lead to an autocracy managed-institution of higher learning. Moreover, we believe that the Board’s action will put the re accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) in jeopardy before 2028. Every eight years, to remain affiliated with MSCHE, colleges and universities must conduct an in-depth self-study providing that they satisfy the seven MSCHE standards.

The standards are: Missions and Goals; Ethics and Integrity; Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience; Support of the Student Experience; Education Effectiveness Assessment; Planning resources and Institutional Improvement; Governance, Leadership and Administration. During the 2009 and 2018 Self-Study reviews, the university highlighted shared governance as an important aspect of gaining input from key stakeholders. Did the university mislead MSCHE on its true intention on shared governance? Did the university do a bait-and-switch with shared governance in 2018 to now move to an autocratic managed institution?

Finally, the HU Capstone Group believes the Board’s action calls into question its ethical conduct as it relates to the University’s bylaws. We believe that the trustee’s failed its fiduciary duty to act ethically and with integrity as it relates to the removal of affiliate trustees. Action is required to put a pause on this governance change!