Morehouse College is focused on bridging the digital divide among its incoming freshman class during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta-based HBCU has teamed up with the tech company Microsoft to provide students with Surface tablets.
The initiative was launched by the institution to alleviate financial barriers to learning. Socio-economic factors often determine whether an individual has access to a computer or the internet. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, one-quarter of Black teenagers say they are sometimes unable to complete their homework due to a lack of digital access. Through the effort, Morehouse and Microsoft want to ensure students have access to laptops and other tools needed to successfully further their education.
As the courses at Morehouse have pivoted to solely online learning, the institution’s faculty wants the newly enrolled students to have a smooth transition as they embark on their collegiate journey. “The digital divide is another battlefield in the fight for social justice because it is directly linked to income disparities between racial groups,” Morehouse College President David A. Thomas said in a statement. “Black and brown families are at the lowest rungs of the household income scale.”
This is just one of the initiatives the HBCU has led to provide relief for its students amid the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the college raised $260,000 through a campaign dubbed “Funds for Morehouse” to cover the costs of housing, food, technology and travel for students who were displaced from housing as a result of the public health crisis. “Having this opportunity has changed our living situation, and it shows how much the administration cares about us. For that, I am really grateful,” Morehouse senior Daquan Spratley said in a statement.