Town Hall Meeting on the University of Delaware


May 14, 2016

St. Johns Church

Newark Branch NAACP thanks our members, area residents and UD students for participating in the Town Hall meeting at the University of Delaware.  We owe special thanks to Pastor Hackett of St. Johns Church, Newark City Councilwoman Jen Wallace, State Representative Paul Baumbach, Wilmington Branch NAACP President Charles Brittingham and Rick Deadwyler from the University of Delaware for participating.

Relationship between UD and the Newark Community

For generations Newark residents in the New London Road community, which is one of the oldest free Black communities in the State of Delaware, have expressed concerns about the relationship between the University and their community, and the marginalization of the community.  Topics of greatest concern are:

  1. The historic expansion of UD’s campus into the Black neighborhood, including Ray Street residence halls and Laird Campus. It is widely understood by several participants that the University’s master plan for campus expansion in the 1950s targeted the New London Road community for development because it was considered a blighted area.  The displacement of housing by this deliberate effort to buy homes as residents died has dramatically changed the community and has increased pressure on the remaining areas for off-campus student housing.  The pain of this experience is ongoing within the community and must be addressed to move forward.
  2. UD only provides housing for 48% of undergraduate students and 53% of graduate students. The increasing size of the student body and the limited amount of dormitory space has amplified pressure on the New London Road community for student housing.  High rent student housing is displacing affordable housing and changing the character of the New London Road community.  There are very few Black families left in the neighborhood.
  3. Because so many Newark residents of the City of Newark are affiliated with the University, the City of Newark shares a common interest with the University of Delaware and the two cannot be separated. The City has supported the erosion of the New London Road community, has worked hand-in-hand with developers, has encouraged the construction of high-rent student housing within the community under the guise of providing housing for “young professionals”, while affordable housing has been displaced, especially housing for seniors.
  4. The vibrant, historically black community of Newark, around the University, seems to have been swallowed up by the University. There appears to be a lack of communication or consideration from UD for the neighborhood, the local residents, and local institutions and organizations.  The minority community is overlooked in issues and lack of diversity in UD jobs, and career opportunities in the community.

University of Delaware’s Diversity Plan

  1. The University of Delaware has known for decades that their efforts to increase diversity on campus is sub-standard. Diversity plan does not include measureable targets to redress long-standing diversity targets or any specific programs.
  2. The Diversity Plan does not Include SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. There are no timelines.  There are no “best practice” goals.
  3. Much of the emphasis on diversity at UD appears to be on attracting international students, not serving Delaware resident communities of color. The composition of the student body does not reflect the racial diversity of the State of Delaware.
  4. The University has a reputation of hostility towards students of color.

Comprehensive Plan for K-12

  1. While there are some programs for K-12 outreach, they have not been made cohesive and are not integrated into brining student of color students into the University. A comprehensive plan should include tangible goals and timetables, and are integrated with guidance counselors in middle and elementary school to identify students early.
  2. The University needs to have a greater connection with schools and have measurable targets for community engagement. Emphasis should be placed on relying upon alumni, upward bound-type programs.

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of 3



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