The University of Connecticut is building a black-only, male only living facility that will become another part of the several special “learning communities” situated within the campus.
Called “ScHOLA2RS,” the new living-learning facility which can accommodate over 40 people is set to be situated within the 200,000-square foot NextGen Hall. It will be open to incoming students beginning fall 2016. According to the university, it was “designed to support the scholastic efforts of male students who identify as African American/Black through academic and social/emotional support, access to research opportunities, and professional development.”
The cited intent for setting up ScHOLA2RS is “to increase the retention and persistence of students using educational and social experiences to enhance their academic success at UConn and beyond in graduate and professional school placement.”
Erik Hines, an assistant professor of educational psychology who will serve as ScHOLA2RS faculty adviser said, “African-American males graduate at a lower rate than their peers, so the University of Connecticut was forward-thinking in bringing a solution to this issue.” According to him, the graduation rate for all UConn students in 2012 was 82.5 percent while for African-American males, it was only 54 percent.
“It is a space for African American men to one, come together and validate their experiences that they may have on campus. Number two, it’s also a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience,” said Hines of the ScHOLA2RS housing initiative.
However, because the SCHOLA2RS House will be the only Learning Community facility on campus that will be built around a particular race and a particular gender, many critics have taken to calling it as another instance of “segregation.” To date, the universities learning-living communities on campus are either major-based like the Business Connections House, the Fine Arts House, the Engineering House, and the Nursing House, or they are interdisciplinary like the EcoHouse, the Global House, the Public Health House, and the Innovation House.
Founded in 1881 originally as an agricultural school, UConn now offers over 100 majors, eight undergraduate degrees, 17 graduate degrees and five professional degree programs. It currently serves over 30,000 students on its six campuses. The university’s athletic teams are nicknamed the Huskies. They participate in the NCAA Division I and in the Football Bowl Subdivision. In most sporte, the Huskies are members of the American Athletic Conference. The varsity colors are Navy Blue, White and Gray. The Uconn mascot is Jonathan the Husky.