The heads of many of the nation's black colleges and universities told President Carter yesterday that his administration is not living up to his stated commitment to support their institutions.
The president met at the White House with 18 of the nearly 60 black college presidents who came to Washinton to complain of what they called the "Insensitivity" of higher education officials and unfairness in the allocation and administration of federal aid.
"President Carter has left no doubt about his personal commitment" to the schools said Charles A. Lyons, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, and one of the group's spokesmen.
But that commitment has not been satisfactorily reflected in policymaking, evaluation of existing programs and the creation of new ones to meet the needs of historically black colleges, Lyons said in a joint statement with group spokesman prezell R. Robinson, president of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Historically black colleges, with enrollments totalling over 200,000, have about one-fourth of all black U.S. students, and produce one half of black raduates. A UNCF report earlier this year said enrollment in black colleges with a slight decline in predominantlywhite college enrollment.
Lyons noted the "unique" role of black schools producing a majority of black leaders in the country and of undertaking the " herculean task" of educating a disproportionate number of disadvantage students who are black.
In federal financial aid, black colleges have had only "meager" assistance other than the $120 million available under the Higher Education Act program created in 1965 for developing colleges, the spokesmen said.
"We want more monies to flow out of all the government agencies where we qualify," said Robinson. he said research grants are regularly given to predominantly white universities in amounts that make black colleges receiptslook "like peanuts."
The president were also concerned, several said, about questions raised by Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. and others in the government as to whether black colleges should be saved.
Members of the group pointed out that Califano asked at a June 23 news briefing: "Even with the money we give some of these schools, as they now operated, are they viable institutions.
Carter, entering the meeting with the delegation of college heads, said he was there to "reafirm the strong mutual commitment and partnership to preserve the integrity and strength of Negro Colleges . . , . . and recognise the tremendous contributions they've made."
Members of the group said afterward that Carter promised a directive to members of his administration to carry out the pledge.
The entire group also met briefly with Vice President Mondale, who reiterated Carter's promised to "strengthen these predominantly black colleges and hold [administration officials] reponsible for doing so,"according to Wade Wilson, president of Cheney State College in Pennsylvania.