Civil rights conversation on ScHOLA2RS House grows louder, Commissioner Kladney voices support

Construction on the new dorms provided under the NextGEN plans for UConn, as seen from from the upper level of North Garage. The ScHOLA2RS House will be located in these new dorms, along with STEM dorms. (Cheyenne Haslett/Daily Campus)

A third U.S. Commissioner on Civil Rights joined the discussion on the University of Connecticut’s ScHOLA2RS House today with another letter to President Susan Herbst. This time, however, the commissioner wasn’t expressing any concern or suspicion about the learning community. Instead, Dave Kladney expressed support for UConn’s effort to increase the graduation rate of African American males.

“I find the university’s efforts to increase the graduation rate among African-American men to be commendable,” Kladney wrote. “Developing programs to help African-American men and other races concentrate on their studies in a supportive social context is worth the attempt.”

In his letter, Kladney also emphasized that the letter commissioners Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow sent on Monday was not agreed upon or approved of by the rest of the commission. In fact, it had been voted against by the majority.

“They brought the exact letter they sent to you (Susan Herbst) before the commission for a vote last Friday. It was defeated by a 5 to 2 vote,” Kladney wrote.

Apart from the university administration, creators of ScHOLA2RS House and a handful of students current and future, Kladney is one of the few to publicly express such support for the initiative. Instead of expressing concern for the idea, he expressed concern for shooting down ideas and programs like ScHOLA2RS House that are working toward changing the racial disparity in success at universities.

“Their letter lacks good faith in its 'suspicion' that the program will be implemented for African-Americans only. The better thought would be to embrace the basic premise of the program,” Kladney wrote. “These commissioners should work with the school to develop a program that complies with the law and provides students of all races the greatest opportunity to succeed.”


Julia Werth is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at julia.werth@uconn.edu.