Charles Barkley Announces Amendment to Will, Devotes $5m to Scholarships for Black Students


NBA legend Charles Barkley recently announced a donation to Black students following the recent Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action. 

On Friday, Barkley pledged that his will be amended to include a $5 million donation dedicated to his alma mater, Auburn University. 

With the donation, Barkley announced that the money would be used as scholarship funds for future Black students that will be attending Auburn and need financial help, according to the former basketball player. 

“I was talking to my friends and said, ‘I need to make sure Black folks always have a place at Auburn,’” said Barkley, per The Birmingham News. “So, I’m gonna change my will and make it exclusive for Black students—all $5 million. It’s just for me the right thing to do.”

The announcement of Barkley’s donation comes after the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action policies will be removed, prohibiting higher education institutions from considering race in the admissions process. 

The announcement of the ruling was promptly followed by backlash from civil rights groups, government officials and students themselves. 

In his official remarks, President Biden condemned the ruling, urging colleges and universities to maintain their commitment to inclusivity and the diversification of the student bodies at higher education institutes.

“We can’t go backwards. I know today’s Court decision is a severe disappointment to so many people, including me, but we cannot let the decision be a permanent setback for the country,” said the president in his official statement. “We need to keep an open door of opportunities.”

“We need to remember that diversity is our strength. We have to find a way forward,” he added. 

With his new donation, Barkley said in his announcement that he hopes his newest action will help diversify Auburn University. 

According to the latest data released by the university in 2022, although the total number of students attending increased, representation and diversity decreased as the number of Black students, in particular, fell from the previous year. 

Out of 31,764 students, only 687 Black men and 873 Black women made up the student body in 2022, comprising approximately two percent and nearly three percent of the student body, respectively. Meanwhile, in 2021, 751 Black men and 929 Black women attended the school out of 31,526 students. 

In general, the enrollment of Black students at Auburn University fell from 5.3% in 2020 to 4.91% in the fall semester of 2022.

“We’ve always lacked diversity,” Barkley said per a report by The Birmingham News. “I’m doing my part to make sure we are more diverse.”

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