Black suits and ties were in favor as UNC Pembroke’s formed a Brother to Brother chapter of Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) on March 13-14.
National SAAB founder and CEO Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe was in attendance to describe the mission of the group in front of 14 new members, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. John Jones and member of the faculty and administration. “Swagger without character is false advertising,” he said. “It begins with character and integrity.”
New members of UNCP’s Brother to Brother Chapter of Student African American Brotherhood
The brotherhood is dedicated to student success for men of color. “This is not a fraternity,” Dr. Bledsoe said. “There are no step shows and no parties. This is a very structured and culturally sensitive program whose mission is to create a college going, college staying and college graduating culture of successful young men.”
Dr. Bledsoe said the nation has raised a generation of who may be “the first generation who will not exceed their parents educationally and/or economically.” In reality, the former higher education administrator was talking to all of the U.S., a nation that will succeed or fail together as it becomes a majority minority nation in the very near future.
“Everybody benefits,” he said, “and every one is invited, Black, White, American Indian, Latino and Asian,” Dr. Bledsoe said. “We will establish a circle of influence that will spread throughout campus.”
SAAB Founder and CEO Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe and new UNCP members
The numbers at UNCP bear out Dr. Bledsoe’s words. African American males trail all other ethnic groups for four- and six-year graduation rates.
The university’s support in the room was evident. “Having a male student initiative such as B2B (Brother to Brother) speaks to the university’s commitment to student success,” said Robert Canida II, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Based on the number of faculty, staff and administrators present today, there is a real excitement for this core group of young men, who will be the founders of a program, developed to help them exceed academically, socially, and culturally. B2B at UNCP will become a signature program for future Braves!”
Black males are not only the least likely to enroll in college, but are also the most likely to drop out without earning a bachelor’s degree. SAAB focuses on increasing the number of African American and Latino men that graduate from college by creating a positive peer community based on a spirit of caring.
SAAB operates through student run chapters with professional advising and mentorship to assist young men to excel academically, socially, culturally, spiritually and in the community.
Robert Canida II will be the chapter advisor, along with Derek Oxendine and Todd Allen both from the Advising Center and Timothy Hunt of Counseling and Psychological Services. He said the next steps for the Brother to Brother chapter is for the young men to develop a strategic plan of action, elect officers, and begin to foster an environment for success.
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