University of Minnesota Launches a New Program for Black Men

The University of Minnesota is launching a new program this fall in an effort to increase the retention and graduation rates of Black men. Ten Black male freshmen will live together in a living/learning community called Huntley House that will be located in Sanford Hall. The goal of Huntley House is to provide a sense of community and connectedness for African American males and opportunities for personal and academic growth in a supportive atmosphere to ensure their success in college and beyond.

The university’s Office of Equity and Diversity will facilitate mentorships with upperclassmen and faculty members to guide these first-year students through the educational process. All 10 Black men will enroll in a credit course entitled “Black Men: Representations and Reality.” As a group, students will attend various cultural events and activities in the Twin Cities, often with the staff and faculty of the Department of African American & African Studies. The group will have weekly dinners and once a month will dine with the Huntley House advisory board.

Huntley House is named in honor of Dr. Horace Huntley, a member of the first graduating class in 1970 of the African American & African Studies program at the University of Minnesota. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and become a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Huntley was one of the leaders in the Morrill Hall Takeover in the spring of 1969, when a small group of African American students occupied the University of Minnesota’s administration building. This takeover led to the establishment of a Black studies program at the university.

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  1. This is groundbreaking, but I think this is a great program, if only as a pilot program. There is plenty of research that shows the value of mentorship and this type of support, particularly for underrepresented populations of students. This initiative is a step in the right direction specifically in an effort to boost the retention and graduation rates of African American males, who consistently (statistically) underperform when compared to other groups, by ethnicity and gender. I also look forward to hearing/reading about success stories!

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