Impediments

Despite the unanimous approval of the proposed Black Studies Program and the recruitment of black students at UNH, a number of problems hindered progress of both initiatives. This led to the formal disbandment of the Black Student Program by President Thomas Bonner in January, 1972.

Sanford Moore, student member of the Black Student/Faculty Board, criticized the low number (38) of black students admitted when the program was expected to admit 100-150 students. Moore also criticized UNH's failure to admit students he felt were qualified.

Board member and University Executive Vice President Jere Chase answered that the program would take time to establish and that no student would be admitted solely on the basis of color. Prospective students needed to show some potential to succeed in the program. Chase indicated concern that Moore had made no effort to discuss the problems. Again, all participants wanted a successful program, but they disagreed on methods, procedures, and standards.

NH Governor Walter Peterson described NH citizens as skeptical of the program because they felt the needs of in-state students should take priority over out-of-state recruits. Peterson praised projects at Dartmouth that intervened with disadvantaged students at a much earlier age. He felt students brought into the college environment unprepared were not being done any favors. Peterson also expressed concern over the influence of the Manchester Union Leader. He felt many of the newspaper's readers believed in the newspaper's "parochial attitude" and promised publicity to counter it.

Student Wayne Worcester, contributing editor to The New Hampshire, cited that UNH received only 50% of the federal funding it needed to fully launch the program. He quoted black student Sanford Moore who expressed his frustration at any delays in the program and warned there could be "trouble." Worcester noted that both Jere Chase and Sanford Moore agreed that the Black Student/Faculty Board interviewed potential recruits. However, Moore and Chase disagreed over how heavily the opinions of black members of the board were being weighed by the administration. Board members included graduate student Donald Land, faculty member Lester Fisher, and staff member Mrs. Sarah Curwood.

The problems above continued unabated for several years as administrator Myrna Adams cited the following problems in 1971:

  • Neither federal nor private funds were readily available
  • Black faculty were scarce and attracted premium salaries
  • Numbers of students recruited never reached targeted goals
  • Blacks in Durham were perceived as frightening or exotic
  • Supportive administrators left UNH (Jere Chase among them)
  • Two black administrators were an insufficient number to support the program