Recently, Congress enacted and President Trump signed into law the massive $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In addition to direct aid to American families and small businesses, the act provided $30 billion in assistance to educational institutions.
Included in the aid to educational institutions was $13 million in assistance to Howard University, the historically Black educational institution in Washington, D.C. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz stated on Twitter: “$13,000,000 in taxpayer funds could be going to families across the nation struggling to put food on the table in the midst of COVID-19. Instead, it’s going to Howard University. Education is important – but a $13 million check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief.”
Senator Kamala Harris of California, a Howard University alumna, shot back on Twitter that the $13 million was only 0.o4 percent of all relief funds allocated to educational institutions. “Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman?,” Senator Harris wrote.
In addition to being a federally-chartered university that depends on the U.S. government for funding, Howard University Hospital has been designated as one of Washington, D.C.’s COVID-19 treatment facilities.
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick noted in a statement that “as one of only two congressionally chartered non-military universities, Howard University does not have access to Title III and other federal resources targeting higher education institutions. Thus, the proposed amount of emergency funding allotted to Howard is comparable to the support proposed for other colleges and universities in response to this unprecedented pandemic.”