Archive for Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Washington publication spotlights Haskell University for its low graduation rate among bachelor’s degree seekers

Administrators point to problems with data but acknowledge they want to do better

The processional of students march through the archway at Haskell Stadium  for the start of the Haskell Indian Nations University 2010 graduation ceremony Friday.

The processional of students march through the archway at Haskell Stadium for the start of the Haskell Indian Nations University 2010 graduation ceremony Friday.

August 24, 2010


For every 10 freshmen who enroll at Haskell Indian Nations University seeking a bachelor’s degree, fewer than one ends up leaving campus with a diploma.

That’s according to the university’s own information reported to the U.S. Department of Education, a database studied by a magazine in search of “college dropout factories.”

Haskell, which is run by the federal government for American Indians, recorded a graduation rate of 9 percent — low enough to place in a tie for 13th on Washington Monthly’s list of 50 four-year public and private not-for-profit colleges with the lowest graduation rates.

“Do we want to do better? Of course,” said Venida Chenault, Haskell’s vice president for academic affairs. “Are we going to make a commitment to that? Of course.”

Southern University at New Orleans and Concordia College at Moorhead, Minn., tied for the lowest rate, at 5 percent. Oglala Lakota College, a tribal college in South Dakota, ranked No. 17 at 11 percent.

Others that were not on the magazine’s list but are included in the government’s database, expressed as percentage of freshmen who enroll and then receive a bachelor’s degree within six years:

• Kansas University, 60 percent.

• Baker University, 59 percent.

• Kansas State University, 58 percent

• University of Missouri, 69 percent.

Haskell’s ranking caught the eye of U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who for nearly a year has been pressuring the Obama administration to address academic and leadership issues at Haskell.

“It is disappointing to see Haskell high on this list,” Roberts said Tuesday. “I remain concerned about the lack of leadership at Haskell and am committed to working with the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Education to ensure Haskell students are getting the quality education they deserve.”

Haskell officials note that their school’s overall graduation rate — one that covers all full-time, first-time students seeking certificates or undergraduate degrees — is 26 percent, surpassing the mean of 15 percent posted by tribal colleges and universities overall.

‘In-between category’

And most students at Haskell are seeking associate degrees, not bachelor’s degrees, Chenault said. During the previous four years, 67 percent of Haskell students were enrolled in such two-year degree programs, compared with 33 percent for four-year degrees.

Haskell often gets compared with larger colleges and universities that focus their resources on four-year and advanced degrees, she said. Haskell established its first bachelor’s degree program in 1998.

“We’re in an in-between category,” Chenault said.

Even so, she said, Haskell remains committed to boosting graduation rates for its students, all of whom come from federally recognized American Indian tribes and “address a critical shortage of American Indian professionals in tribal communities.

“Every May, you typically see 150 students walking across the stage, having completed their bachelor’s or associate degrees. That’s not insignificant. That’s going to make a big difference for tribes.”

Success Center to open

This year, new and returning students soon will have a new resource to help guide their way through campus academia. In October, Haskell is planning a grand opening for its new on-campus Haskell Success Center, which will provide centralized advising, retention, outreach and career-placement services.

The goal is to improve student engagement, she said.

Haskell has about 1,000 students this semester, representing about 150 tribes. Students do not pay tuition, and instead pay fees by semester: $215 if living on campus, or $110 for those living off.

The university’s annual budget is about $14.2 million.

Haskell’s top administrator is Chris Redman, an education specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs who also serves as acting president. Still listed as Haskell’s president is Linda Warner, who remains a federal employee but has not been on campus for nearly a year, after being reassigned by bureau officials in Washington, D.C., to another federal school for American Indians in New Mexico, and later to a regional bureau office in Oklahoma City.

Earlier this year, bureau officials said that a decision about Haskell’s president would be made sometime after Keith Moore started work as bureau director. Moore started June 1, and no decision has been announced.

Sen. Roberts started voicing concerns last year about leadership issues at Haskell, and has met personally with a former Senate colleague, Ken Salazar, who now is U.S. secretary of the interior — the department that oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, therefore, Haskell.

In March, Roberts and other members of Kansas’ congressional delegation had said they were seeking answers about alleged “mismanagement of personnel,” “ethics violations” and other “alarming reports” at the campus.

The search continues, and Roberts noted Tuesday that Haskell’s latest ranking was something to follow.

“Obviously this report speaks to many of the concerns I have raised with Secretary Salazar and I appreciate the attention he is giving to this matter,” Roberts said.


bunnyhawk 3 years, 5 months ago

Before the well-informed readers of the LJW join in the calvalcade of negativity about Haskell, they might consider the fact that among minority students across the state of Kansas--including African American, Hispanic, and Native American students---just barely half are graduating with HIGH SCHOOL diplomas. At the same time, over 80% of white Kansas high school students are graduating with diplomas.

Kansas has a shamefully low graduation rate for non-white students. Would you LJW readers propose we close all Kansas High Schools because of their persistently dismal performance on non-white graduation rates?

I am appalled and disgusted by the ignorance and racism evident in many of these posts. Ya'll must have been sleeping when they taught about the Golden Rule in Sunday School. And ya'll must be braindead to fail to understand the long reaching value of a good education for each and every one of our citizens.


beeshlii 3 years, 5 months ago

graduation rate low-remember Haskell don't have thousands of student attending. i dont know how much but i would estimate like 1600-2000 students? i graduated in 1996, in those days we had a college president who care much about students. after i left and up to date i notice there were at least 6 president that came and went. WHY? I think its all political. its just like the story about half bucket full of crab. i don't Haskell the school itself has nothing to do with low graduation rate. i can honestly say its the students fault. i seen it, been there.


katatnite 3 years, 7 months ago

"Haskell is planning a grand opening for its new on-campus Haskell Success Center" Who is going to make it a success? The same people who are currently in charge and digging Haskell's grave? Sounds like the PR campaign that they came up with to me. Unfortunately Native education is suffering at the hands of these people. Why are they not being detailed out? I don't understand how the BIA is just sitting around watching all of this happen. Where's that guy that came to Haskell crying from Washington D.C. at?


sbobandme 3 years, 7 months ago

Con't Not to mention: Princess Crazyhair, Venida Chenault, Dan Wildcat and that group, they should have been long gone, with the people who call themselves The Haskell Board of Regents, and take their ring leader, George Tiger with them. As long time residents of Lawrence and taxpayers, we certainly hope that Senator Pat Roberts is going to do something about this, we support him. The students are not to blame; it is the Haskell environment, that’s to blame. But most of all it is Larry Echohawk, he is at the top and yet he corrects nothing. At this rate, Haskell will cease to exist.


sbobandme 3 years, 7 months ago

This is apparently what people who show up at Haskell for a degree can expect: To stay at the school 7-8 years or longer and still not receive a degree. To have more course offerings in two year degrees than four and no master’s program. To have the room that you pre-assigned up for to be given away. To maybe sleep with a faulty member or two along the way (this can get you excused from class for the entire semester, all that is then required of you is to show up and pretend to take the final). To have the president of your school detailed, leaving it with NO leadership, unless you want to call Chris Redman’s occasional appearance on campus leadership. The guy isn’t even qualified to be a college president, but never mind. To have a new VP whose real skills appear to be a comedian. We wonder if he is still laughing today? Probably, all the way to the bank on Haskell’s dime. Just like the rest of them. To have Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn, who is not only unqualified for her position, but apparently also has no skills for it in be in charge of your education. Just like she is in charge of Sipi’s they just lost their accreditation and now it appears Haskell may not be far behind. My wife and I doubt that the higher Learning Commission can over look Haskell’s dismal graduation numbers. To have a Bureau of Indian Affairs who apparently does not care about Haskell running your school. What did that Echohawk guy ever do to help Haskell or Sipi? Anything? We mean besides cry?! He should have backed a good president ( Dr.Warner, when he had one there). Haskell’s presidents never last very long and now we know why, when they get a good one who tries to make positive changes for the STUDENTS, they get rid of them! Why? Because the employees might have to actually do their jobs! And they don’t want to work (okay, not all of them). To run into one of these people if you live in housing and most Haskell students do. Dorm staff who think they have been abducted by aliens, another one who makes quilts and tries to get students to do her work, while she is at work, another one who thinks she works at Disneyland (and maybe she does, my wife and I are pretty sure that second in command over there at housing could be Mickey Mouse) he does nothing for those students living in the dorms except smile and wave, take a good look at Roe Cloud, we drove by it this morning and it looks like a ghetto with all of those window air units hanging out on boards! Such a shame, we remember when that WAS a beautiful building. Con't


Mike Ford 3 years, 7 months ago

just for curiositie's sake I looked at the Quapaw Treaty of 1833 where that tribe ceded away all of their lands in the territory of Arkansas. This treaty began with a land cession. By article III, the president, Andrew Jackson and the United States appropriate a thousand dollars per year for educational purposes. Quid pro quo, the tribe cedes land, the US Government makes promises of education, and maybe the US Government follows through with this promise. Later when the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma was allotted and royalties from timber, coal and other minerals accrue, the funds were applied towards many things including the funding of schools by the Council of the Choctaw Nation before the tribal governments were dissolved in 1906 and Oklahoma became a state in 1907. What I've tried to say for some time now was that the US wanted land and assimilation from tribes. The promise of education in return for the cessions of land was a carrot that was waved in front of tribes. The Choctaw people historically valued education. The value of education in the pursuit of assimilation was tied to the diminishing of lands and tribal identity. The Civilization Act made the possibility of education available in return for ceding lands and becoming civililzed. Sell lands through treaty and we'll give you money... where did the idea for assimilation and education come from...

Although the Civilization Act stipulated a federal contribution of $10,000 per annum, in reality the federal portion remained below 10 percent. While the denominational groups raised additional funds, the Indian nations absorbed the greatest expense for their children's schooling because tribal leaders appropriated funds designated by educational provisions in their treaties. More than one-fourth of the almost four hundred treaties negotiated between Indian nations and the United States contained federal promises of education.( excerpt taken from US History Encyclopedia 2009 online which backs up what I was asserting to begin with)


ssakcaj 3 years, 7 months ago

While playing around with IPEDS, I decided to do a comparison using "Graduation rate - Bachelor degree within 6 years, American Indian or Alaska Native." I used the same variables as used in the article. Notice how Haskell proudly sits there with its 9%. But notice where KU is sitting, a staggering 63%. For anyone mathematically impaired, let me help you out. The University of Kansas graduation rate is 8 times larger than Haskell's. Let me say it again, 8 times the rate of Haskell.

Sinte Gleska University Mission SD 100% University of Kansas Lawrence KS 63% Salish Kootenai College Pablo MT 33% Oglala Lakota College Kyle SD 14% Haskell Indian Nations University Lawrence KS 9%

It appears KU had 43 incoming freshmen and graduated 27, while Haskell had 191 full-time first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate, so we should be comparing the same group. Haskell would have graduated 17 students. So it would appear that KU turns out to be the better Native American college than Haskell...

If I were the Chief Academic Officer at Haskell I would turn my letter of resignation in tomorrow. It has become obvious at this point that whoever is in the position has no clue to what they are doing or is supposed to be doing.


ssakcaj 3 years, 7 months ago

I can't make this any simpler than this, you said:

"... the Civilization Act of March 3, 1819, where the U.S. Govenrment(sic) promised to educate Native children in return for cession of tribal lands."

That is absolutely not true.

There was no quid pro quo. Oh my gosh, I used Latin, you can barely understand English. Let me try this again...

There was not something, a promise for education, given for something else, "cession of tribal lands." That just did not occur in the Civilization Act of 1819. Whether this occured in later treaties, or legislation is irrelevent to the fact that your original statement is incorrect.


Mike Ford 3 years, 7 months ago

the civilization act of 1819 created the place where future monies from land cessions could be deposited for schooling purposes with tribal children. Example A, said tribe cedes lands, and the US Congress with it's plenary powers would ratify the cession of lands, and the treaty would outline what funds from the sale of lands to the public would go where, like general tribal funds, payments for debts to licensed traders, agrIcultural equipment and instructors and monies for teachers and school supplies which eventually became JOM funds in the mid 1920's. The Act mentioned and the beginning monies led to the mentioning of monies in future treaties throughout the 19th century where monies were set aside per treaty stipulations for educational purposes as I ORIGINALLY STATED.


Mike Ford 3 years, 7 months ago

ssakcaj, someone here is not realizing that education was part of the assimilation process mentioned in the Civilization Act of 1819. You made me quote page 6 from the Book "Education for Extinction", by David Wallace Adams. In 1818 the House Commission on Indian Affairs urged Congress to "Put into the hands of their children the primer and the hoe, and they will naturally in time take hold of the plough, and as their minds become enlightened and expand, the bible will be their book, and they will grow up in habits of morality and industry leave the chase to those whose minds are less cultivated, and become useful members of society". A year later Congress created the Civilization Fund, an annual appropriation of $10,000 to be administered by Thomas McKinney, the nation's first Superintendant of Indian Affairs. It was in this time that Choctaw children were educated in Kentucky as I mentioned earlier. Furthermore, on page 680 of Cohen's Handbook of Indian Law, Two years later Congress responded by establishing a permanent annual appropriation of ten thousand dollars the tribes to the habits and arts of civilization footnote 13, Act of March 3, 1819, the Civilization Act. The President was authorized specifically to employ instructors for Indians in reading writing arithmatic and agriculture with the consent of the tribes. Following existing policy the President distributed this appropriation, along with other treaty funds that became available for educaitonal purposes, to missionary organizations and religious groups prominent in the effort to civilize Indians. Gee do much research? I simply went to my personal library and found these quotes in my lawbook and the book previously mentioned. I personally marked every treaty between 1820 and 1880 where this education promise was made when I was previously doing research on a project at Haskell a decade ago.


eastie 3 years, 7 months ago

You may be wrong this is post from the author of the original article in regards to how the rate was calculated, using the IPEDS you mention, though I don't doubt your knowledge of the columns on the form. The bottom paragraph discusses students who transfer out. From what I saw they never really discussed in the article how they calculated the grad rate, but his response clears it up somewhat.

" I know a number of people raised concerns about Concordia College at Moorhead. All the graduation rate figures used in the article came from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, which is hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We used only the graduate statistics for bachelor's degree students within six years (East-West University, for example offers degrees in addition to bachelor's). We did not consider students in non-bachelor's degree programs in either the numerator or denominator).

The issue with Concordia's data is the wrong figure ended up in the IPEDS database. The data entered says it had 38 students earn a bachelor's degree within six years out of a total cohort of 727--which is about 5 percent. If you want to see the raw files yourself, I've posted the cohort file here Concorida College at Moorhead is row 712) and the number of completers here (Concordia College at Moorhead is row 698). I don't know how the wrong figure ended up in IPEDS--it is self reported so either Concordia entered the wrong figure or somehow numbers were transposed in the data entry process. But if you go into IPEDS now and download their bachelor's degree six-year graduation rate figure for 2008, it still gives you 5% as the rate.

In terms of transfer students, I agree that is a weakness in the federal graduation rate data, but it's worth noting a few things. First, transfer rates are an optional number reported by schools, so the figures aren't consistent. Second, there is no guarantee that a transfer student ends up graduating elsewhere--only about 1/3 of transfer students get a bachelor's degree, so it isn't right to let schools off the hook because they couldn't hold on to their students. Third, we are talking about four-year institutions where the mission is not to produce transfer students (like say a community college), but to get them to graduate. It says something about the school when they have a large number of transfer students. Finally, I'd just point out that even if you took Chicago State's transfer students out, its graduation rate is still just 18 percent."

I hope that answers some questions. If you have others, feel free to reach me on my e-mail address, which is bmiller [at]


eastie 3 years, 7 months ago

you do understand that while the graduation rate is doesn't take into account the students who get their associates degree and transfer to another college/university. those students don't count as graduated, hence the low 4 year graduation rate. Its understood that even with that; its not where it should be, but its not as poor as being reported. The numbers are only counting 4 year graduates. its much like when publications report low grad rates for D1 football and basketball programs, those numbers in some cases reflect an accurate picture, but if KU has 3 freshman transfer, those numbers are going to be reported as students that failed to graduate, as opposed to a student that doesn't finish school period. Haskell has to improve, but it provided a service an opportunity for those that want to take advantage of it


jgaznative 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Been there, done that, more times than you have even dreamed of, 3. You are missing the point here. HINU administration is corrupt and the students got the short stick, whether you know it or not. Apparently not. What makes you think everyone who has serious concerns about Haskell is white? Get a clue. And get out of AIS.


3rdiopen 3 years, 7 months ago

I currently attend Haskell and I appreciate the oppurtunity at a somewhat free education.

Haskell has problems, yes. I don't know what's going on with the admin or staff there. I hear things. I don't care about them, I'm there to EARN my degree. The problem seems that HINU is cursed because it has become a rumour mill.

Not every student at Haskell cares for their education. I assure you this is the case at every University on the planet, including your precious KU. I mean, it isn't the Haskell student body filling up the bars downtown every weekend. There's only 1,000 students in attendance at HINU, how many students at KU????

I just want to encourage every native student at Haskell to stay strong. Don't listen to what these white people are saying about you or the institution you chose to attend. The only person who could cause you to fail is yourself.

For you white people, believe me when I say, we talk about you ALL the time. It would burn you up inside to hear some of the things we say openly about you at Haskell. Maybe you heard about that. Probably why you want to shut it down.

But, look at the things you say openly about us. In daily publications. Heck, we even have our own bashing section on LJW.

Keep talking LJW, Haskell isn't going anywhere. I mean we got a black president. I thought you white people knew that we darkies like to stick together. We could care less what you think about us, so get use to it.


Mike Ford 3 years, 7 months ago

ssakcaj, I'm Choctaw, if you go back in our history from the treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820 and Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, land cessions were part of the assimilation process, as were the christian preysbyterian schools that Choctaws went to kentucky in the early 1820's. Accounts were established from monies made from the sales of Indian land and held in trust by the treasury department of the US. So much money would be deducted from each tribe's federal account to pay for students taught at christian missions and later in the 19th century when the boarding schools took native children by force away from their homes. From the times in the early 19th century when the BIA hired blacksmiths to teach young native men job skills to the point when the boarding schools started in the late 1870's, money was deducted from tribal funds held in escrow from land sales. My acquaintance was an example of showing that one politician could not paint Haskell with a broad brush. However the less one knows the easier it is I guess.


jgaznative 3 years, 7 months ago

"Administrators point to problems with data but acknowledge they want to do better."

Yeah, right. Chenault, Goodfox, Tsosie and others worked as hard as they could to get rid of anyone who attempted to actually make things better. Warner is gone. Blackbird is gone. Contracts of key people have not been renewed. Students are upset. Good hearted faculty and staff are worried. The members of the Board of Regents are incompetent.

Given past behavior, It is very hard to believe anything Chenault says. This lack of doing anything to better the situation is about maintaining the comfort of the VP and her friends. It's appalling what goes on at Haskell, what has been done to some people, and this story and the comments here are just the tip of the iceberg. Very sad.

Practicality: "I did have positve experiences with the students from Haskell in graduate classes though." Wow. What department are you in?

Well stated, ssakcaj, on all points.


HaskellGrad38 3 years, 7 months ago

I have experienced the Haskell Indian Nations University experience and I can tell everyone that thinks that HINU is a waste or a joke. That it is truly a place of opportunity. I left a home in 1999 from a small town in Oklahoma, to attend HINU. Why did I choose HINU simply the cost, I was not sure I was cut out for college. I was a average High school student with a decent 3.25 GPA. But leaving my family and comforts of a structured enviroment was a bit overwhelming. But I have always had a great support system from my family and friends that push me to be the best I can be. I remeber the night before I left my grandma told me that if I go and try my best then it is not a failure but a learning experience in itself, even if i didn't get a degree, never trying is truly failure. I got to HINU and found out that I could make it and I actually liked college and the courses. I found a community there that supported one another. But I also saw social problems that I never saw before, where young adults couldn't handle the pressures of being away from home or a new enviroment. Since starting college I have been involved in research and jobs within Indian country as a whole. I see these issues all over Indian Country. The people have lost hope and our children live in extremely poor conditions, failed education systems, horrible housing, and over all well being all take a back seat to surviving. HINU's problems can't be blamed on faculty and administration totally. The people of Indian country need to understand that college and education can change their overall enviroments and take some pride in themselves to want a better future for future generations. Now HINU needs to get back to a place of community and supporting of its students. The administration, faculty, and board of Regents need to do a self evalution and realize they are there for the students. If the students were to go home then there is no need for them. Put all the differences,opinions, self interests, and and all the other BS aside and focus on the students and educating and supporting them. Many of these students dont' have the self esteem or confidence to truly believe they can make it outside of their home communities and HINU should be the place that shows them that they can. I am a successful graduate of HINU with a bachelor's degree. I could have left after a year or two but I truly loved the school and Lawrence. I left got a MBA and have a successful career and I am not the only one I have friends all over the country that are success stories as well and contribute it to HINU. I believe in HINU and will be a HINU Fightin Indian til the DAY I DIE.


jhawkgrad 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm kind of confused, how an institution be in an in between category? Clearly Haskell is not in the university category, it sounds to me like it should be in a junior college category. The low graduation rate should be a major red flag and indicator of how this school is not student focused. Does the school have a student affairs division? Does the school have advising for students and career counseling? Shouldn't retention be an ongoing concern for any institution? I tried looking on the school's website but it is not user friendly and has dated information. What were the graduation rates in previous years? How does this compare to other tribal colleges?


sbobandme 3 years, 7 months ago

My wife and I have these questions: 1. Why isn’t Dr. Warner back at Haskell? Aapparently she is badly needed there. 2. Why is Ms. Stephanie Bighorn-Birdwell still in charge of the only two U.S. government ran Native American colleges (One that has lost it’s accreditation and one that can’t graduate students with bachelors degrees) ( not that they have many to choose from the U.S. government may want to take a good look at that)? 3. Why is Venida Chenault speaking to the press? Isn’t there a gag order on Haskell employees? Would seem like discrimination to us, to let one employee speak, but not the others. 4. We read in the LJW that Chris Redman was back as Haskell’s acting president, why isn’t he speaking? He is there isn’t he? 5. Does anyone know what Senator Roberts is doing about all of this? Someone needs to go over there, close the place down and send these kids somewhere, where they can get a real education and have some choices in degree programs. Why does a “university” even have two year degrees? 6. My wife and I both agree that Haskell’s time has come and gone, unfortunately mainly gone.


Mike Ford 3 years, 7 months ago

let's see, this morning after I had a debate with a Roberts staffer whom I hung up on, I thought about the garbage I'd eventually hear on this post. For the people who think handouts are happening, if you don't want to pay for Haskell, leave the land you live on that this government stole for you between 1790 and 1887. And if you don't believe that, go to Kappler's treaties and learn about the Civilization Act of March 3, 1819, where the U.S. Govenrment promised to educate Native children in return for cession of tribal lands. Then learn about the Manypenny treaties which through the intimidated cession of 13 million acres from the Shawnee, Delaware, Kickapoo, Wyandotte, Wea, Piankishaw, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Miami, Sac and Fox, and Iowa tribes, allowed all of eastern Kansas to be settled. The land Lawrence sets on was Shawnee and Delaware land. In all there are more than 110 treaties in the 19th century that provided for education in return for the taking of lands.

On the subject of Haskell, as the article stated there are many more Associated degrees than four year degrees awarded. I have an acquantance who graduated from Haskell then graduated from KU Law School and is now an attorney for the BIA. Mr. Robert's staffers didn't give me a chance to get to that point. They were to busy spin doctoring to listen to constituent comments and they're more interested in procuring monies to initiate the SLT and screw Haskell over than do anything for Haskell. The Republicans have consistently underfunded Haskell and denied funding to BIA Trade Schools in North Dakota, Much of this noise now is about getting an agreer back into office. Much of the US Government's policies dealing with Native peoples has always been about finding agreers to bow on the behalf of people who don't agree and want different things done. The US Government's divide and conquer philosophy is always in play in Indian Country.


7texdude 3 years, 7 months ago

Why do we have to send Indian kids to school? Because we agreed to do it many years ago. Sorry if it inconvenient to you to honor a treaty that we signed many years ago. And I'm sure every Indian is relieved to hear the government is going to solve their problems.....again. The U.S. government has such a strong tradition of treating American Indians with respect and honor.

Come on.

Do you remember Carlisle Indian School? In 1910s, the Indians were a football powerhouse that included Jim Thorpe and Gus Welch. I hope you know about Thorpe, but how about Welch? After starring for the Carlisle football team that defeated an Army team that included President Eisenhower, he enrolled in the Army and won a medal in World War I in France. Carlisle was plagued by some of the same problems that Haskell faces today before it was closed down. Why are we afraid to look at the past and make sure we don't repeat the same mistakes?

The issue is how to improve the educatuon and graduation rates at Haskell, Ask the students. Both current, recent graduates and dropouts will tell you all about it. This is where it starts and ends.

Finally, how can anyone in Lawrence criticize Haskell students for joining a protest in protecting wetlands? Look at the history of the U.S. government seizing their land again and again. How is that a waste of time for the students at Haskell?

Compare it to the students at KU who camp out overnight for a good seat at a basketball game that builds momentum for a post-game party. If you are a Jayhawk fan, how can you blast the Haskell Administration when the KU athletic department is such a mess right now. I don't understand how a community that relishes the Border War tradition with Mizzou, but ignores Haskell's long tradition as well.


oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 7 months ago

so, KU has 6 in 10 graduate in 6 years. That really isn't that good, given the backgrounds and the amount of money most come with, compared to Haskell.

Haskell had a better "graduation" rate if you will when it had more vocational courses which of course is something that even KU could benefit from now.

Interesting idea about making Haskell a "prep school". As it is now, it doesn't have an exclusive image. Sadly though, as this writer (:) has traveled to Gallup and the Four Corners it is interesting to note that not many native american young people know about Haskell unless by chance a relative went some time ago.

Haskell needs to re invent itself. KU has tried miserably, but Haskell has a chance to do so as it isn't worried about the Big 8, the Big 10 or even tailgating.

The BIA has some good figureheads who could come into the Haskell limelight and put the spotlight on the place.

Sadly though, Haskell still has the same importance in Lawrence as it did some 40 years ago when this writer first became aware of Haskell. It is viewed as just "that place off 23rd Street".


swrussel 3 years, 7 months ago

As an Indian who went to a state school, I have some agreements and some disagreements.

Those who don't want the students involved in local political issues should take a long walk off a short pier. That IS education, and of a kind that's sorely needed in most of Indian Country.

Those who want Haskell closed have a point.

I expect it would be MORE expensive to comply with treaty obligations by handing out the bucks for Indians to attend first rate schools, but that was the whole idea--comply on the cheap and control what is taught to the potential subversives.

Entrance requirements: I object. Like most Indians, I did not finish high school. I basically talked my way in on academic probation and graduated in four years, magna cum laude. I've since been tenured at two universities. So I'm not impressed with paper admission requirements.

ON THE OTHER HAND, adequate preparation is hard to come by for most if not all Indian students. When you walk in the door, you need to read and write and figure at the college level or you will crash against reality.

THEREFORE, why not turn Haskell into a serious prep school with the mission of filling up the scholarships that go begging at Ivy League schools?

Why not ask the feds to comply with treaty obligations by funding linkage agreements between Haskell Prep and various state universities? Create federal incentives for state universities to waive tuition for all Indians with a historical footprint in a particular state? (Some states already do this, with no incentives.)

This is a serious problem and more of the same is not an answer.


Practicality 3 years, 7 months ago

I think it is time to just clean house at Haskell. Starting with the entire administration and a majority of the faculty. Then make admission requirements much more difficult. I haven't any problem with the government funding the school, because that was the agreed upon deal, but lets have it be a useful expenditature.

Can anyone tell me what the admission requirements are at Haskell?


Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 7 months ago

emaw hit it, I couldn't agree more. It seems that Haskell students spend a lot of time getting involved with the local yahoos who oopose the South Lawrence Trafficway and other local issues instead of doing what they came here for, getting an education. I hear some advocates for the Native Americans yelling that they want to keep things like they were for their ancestors. I do not see them tearing up paved roads, tearing down power lines, putting up native dwellings, getting rid of their cars, or other such "modern" elements of their "native heritage". So why is it so important to get involved in obstructing this badly needed roadway? This is nothing new of course, I went to college and there were the usual malcontents creating hate and discontent for most any issues that they could find and ignoring the reasons they came to school in the first place. But these fortunate Native American students, who have an education provided for them, much of it financed by the taxpayers, seem to have lost their direction in getting their education. And the administration of the college does not help, for they themsleves get involved in these obstructive demonstrations against the community that hosts and supports them.

This article should surprize no one. There seems to be a lot of soul-searching needed here to determing the true purpose of ecuation, and it is not replacing the clog in a drainage system that county workers have cleared earlier in the week.


Clark Coan 3 years, 7 months ago

There are treaty obligations going way back which require the US Government to provide education for many tribes. So, this is more of a special entitlement.


firebird27 3 years, 7 months ago

Beyond the cultural problems students may face, a huge problem is the lack of funding that Haskell receives. Compared to state colleges in Kansas, funding is very low. For example, attempt to email a Haskell faculty member. Often you cannot do it. Haskell has insufficient funds to even provide internet access to all of its faculty members.

KU has funding problems but nothing compared to Haskell. Oh yes, for anyone who attends KU, you have a partial state government handout. If you attended a pubic high school, you have experienced a government handout.

Those who complain about government handouts should consider that if you do not want any government handouts, then your children will need to attend private schools.


imastinker 3 years, 7 months ago

It is impossible to appreciate that which you do not work for.


emaw 3 years, 7 months ago

Maybe they should spend less time marching for the Beavers and spend more time studying! haha


Irenaku 3 years, 7 months ago

Wasn't there a recent issue (last year I think) about Haskell offering more BA programs and adding Masters/PhD programs? I think the suggestion or implication would be that Haskell students would have to begin paying full tuition and fees, like students at KU or K-State. There was an enormous backlash and many students were VERY upset. I am wondering though, would Haskell's students flourish more if the school had more to offer, and the funds from incoming students to help make it happen? I don't mean to offend anyone, I don't know exactly how these things work, and certainly I understand why Haskell students would not want to have to pay for the same amount of tuition that other students pay...especially since Haskell was originally assimilation hell..


Horace 3 years, 7 months ago

Enough with the special handouts. Close it. It's 2010 not 1910.


geekin_topekan 3 years, 7 months ago

WHile other students enroll and never seem to leave. Eight years at Haskell? Gimme a break!

Perhaps if they weren;t flying around the country for "listening sessions" or paying for faculty to remain on payroll while they pretend to work on advanced degrees, all on public money...

I love Haskell but when new students come and expect great things and realize that they just moved from one corrupt system into another, they leave. They either transfer or just go home.


oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 7 months ago

how does this compare with KU, I wonder. For every freshman entering KU do they complete a education in 4 years? What is the rate of retention the first semester for 10 ku freshmen?

Maybe Haskell and KU have a similar problem.

Lawrence and alcohol?


weeslicket 3 years, 7 months ago

from the article: “We’re in an in-between category,” Chenault said."

and again, from the article: -- "Haskell officials note that their school’s overall graduation rate —one that covers all full-time, first-time students seeking certificates or undergraduate degrees — is 26 percent, surpassing the mean of 15 percent posted by tribal colleges and universities overall. (‘In-between category’) -- "And most students at Haskell are seeking associate degrees, not bachelor’s degrees, Chenault said. During the previous four years, 67 percent of Haskell students were enrolled in such two-year degree programs, compared with 33 percent for four-year degrees." -- "Haskell often gets compared with larger colleges and universities that focus their resources on four-year and advanced degrees, she said. Haskell established its first bachelor’s degree program in 1998."

if i may offer a better question: how many of the students who first enroll in haskell (or any of the other campuses listed in the article) eventually graduate in good standing from ANY institution? (time limits of 4 years or 5 years don't really matter much for this question; the question is about whether students matriculate, and also later graduate.)

to ask this question another way: how many of us on this thread attended the same college/university, and graduated within four years from that same college/university?
probably nothing close to 100%. or even 60%.

anyways, just wondering.


Practicality 3 years, 7 months ago

Whatever the problem, those are abysmal numbers. It is obvious that the students enrolling at Haskell are not prepared for college. My suggestion would be to make Haskell the Harvard of the Native American Colleges. Many of the well adjusted, exemplary Native students are pursued and given great opportunities at Non-tribal colleges. My advice would be to make it worth it to those students to attend Haskell, make the academic critera for admission difficult to attain, and watch Haskell flourish as a Native Ivy League School.

Not everyone is cut out to attend College and that is o.k. Maybe another alternative is needed.


edjayhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a white man's problem because the problem was created by my ancestors.


hbjayhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

If you only knew what these students have faced in their families . . . many shipped off to Haskell, abandoned, traumatized. They really need to offer orientation and transition courses to help emotionally and spiritually with their journey. Too many of the Haskell students have had childhood experiences and family abuses that leaves scars so deep, the college opportunity can't seep in and become relevant. Plus, Haskell is run so poorly--that never helps.


ksjayhawk74 3 years, 7 months ago

$215/semester to live on campus and students are dropping out?

Suggestion: full reimbursement of tuition upon completion of a 4 year degree. Walk across the stage, get your diploma and a nice fat check!!!


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