Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick, taking umbrage with a recent internal memo from Wells Fargo’s CEO blaming the bank’s lack of diversity on “a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from,” said that he is surrounded by a unique pool of African-American students, both at Howard and fellow historically Black colleges and universities as well as other centers of higher education across the country.
While Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf clarified his remarks and apologized, citing “unconscious bias,” his comment serves as a teachable moment for all those interested in creating lasting, positive change in this moment of racial reckoning, Frederick wrote Sunday in an editorial for CNN.
“The talent I see every day is immense and inspiring,” Frederick wrote. “Black students and alumni have a depth of capabilities and diverse passions and ambitions. They leave our campuses eager to work hard and ready to change our industries, our society and our world for the better. All they need is an opportunity.”
The Howard president said that over the past 150 years, America’s HBCUs “have consistently built a Black professional class despite the peaks and valleys of race relations over time.”
“Despite chronic under-resourcing and commonly serving students who are not born into privilege, these institutions have contributed mightily to the fabric of our nation,” Frederick wrote. “Furthering our investments in HBCUs will serve to advance the economic opportunities of graduates from these institutions and for the Black community more generally.”