NAACP member demands colleges’ autonomy

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Nettie Hinton, member of the NAACP San Antonio branch, tells the board of trustees to allow autonomy in response to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ recommendations Tuesday at Killen Center. Hinton reminded the board why they were elected and expressed the importance of diversity in San Antonio. Photo by Brianna Rodrigue

Nettie Hinton urges board to leave academic success to colleges.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

Nettie Hinton expressed her frustration with how the board of trustees handled the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ recommendations at the Feb. 28 board meeting.

Hinton, a member of the NAACP San Antonio branch and a 1957 St. Philip’s College graduate, reminded the board that they were elected to their positions and asked they remember their mission to empower the community and represent the diverse demographics of this city, saying the community has been highly diverse for 300 years or more.

“Everybody knows about cookie cutters,” Hinton said.

“You get a whole bunch of cookie dough, and you get your cookie cutter, and you stamp away at it. You come out at the end of that process with some wonderful cookies, but they’re all looking the same. The diversity in your mission means the campuses of those Alamo College District cannot be cookie-cutter campuses … We are not cookie-cutter people. Those are not cookie-cutter campuses,” she said.

Hinton urged the board to leave academic success to the faculty and staff of the colleges, saying the board needs to reinforce the colleges’ autonomous control of coursework.

Hinton emphasized the importance of diversity in this city to the board, saying it is exceedingly important and helped her succeed at the University of Texas at Austin when she wasn’t particularly welcome there.

Hinton earned a bachelor’s degree from UT-Austin, saying she was considered a “precursor” during her time at UT-Austin because she was the first black woman to enroll and earn a degree from the university.

Hinton said she is proud to have been educated by St. Philip’s College because of its historically black college status.

Hinton attended the Jan. 17 board meeting and frequently held up a petition to the audience.

The petition, started and circulated by the NAACP San Antonio branch, contained more than 820 signatures.

The petition cited the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ Comprehensive Standard 3.11.2, which requires an institution to “provide a healthy, safe and secure environment for all members of the campus community,” and Standard 3.11.3, which states an institution must maintain facilities that serve the institution’s “educational programs, support services and other mission-related activities.”

The petition states the violation of these standards by the district is evidence the board was not accommodating SACSCOC’s Comprehensive Standards.

The petition said the board should better maintain the colleges, downsize the plans for the new $55 million district support office and remove all mention of FranklinCovey materials from board policy.

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