About the HBCU Program

About Us

HRCF’s HBCU Program arose out of a need to support LGBTQ students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) after two violent, anti-LGBTQ incidents occurred at two prominent HBCUs in 2001. Shortly after the incidents, HRCF convened a dynamic group of HBCU LGBTQ student-leaders committed to advocating for LGBTQ-inclusion and social justice on campuses and in their communities.  

Formerly known as the HBCU Project,  HRCF’s HBCU Program has expanded to engage administrators, faculty/staff, students and alumni through various initiatives. Since the program’s inception, HRC has established relationships with over 30 HBCUs by providing support to LGBTQ and allied students, faculty, and staff who wish to improve LGBTQ inclusion on their campuses.

What We Do

Annual HBCU Leadership Summit

The annual HBCU Leadership Summit is a leadership development and advocacy training program that empowers LGBTQ HBCU students to act as change-agents on their campuses and in their communities. Throughout the four-day summit, students focus on self-awareness, awareness of others, courageous actions, and collaboration. Ultimately, students leave with the skills and competence to lead resourcefully and effectively through the intersections of race, religion, gender identity, class, and sexual orientation.  Click here for additional information and way to get involved.


HRC HBCU Program; Historically Black Colleges and Universities

HRC HBCU Program; Historically Black Colleges and Universities

P.R.I.D.E. Alumni Network

The HBCU LGBTQ Alumni Network was created to foster and strengthen the bond between Historically Black Colleges and Universities alumni who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allies with their respective alma maters and the Human Rights Campaign. This network will cultivate interest in and support for the HRCF’s HBCU Program and LGBTQ inclusion amongst HBCUs. This is also a space for alumni to connect, activate, and collaborate on issues that are common and relevant to us. Click here for more information about the network.

Campus Diversity & Inclusion Training

The HBCU Diversity and Inclusion Trainings offer an overview of LGBTQ inclusive practices and policies to further promote equality on college campuses and communities for students, faculty/staff, and administration. The training helps to cultivate a workforce for administration to engage  with their students, reinforcing the importance of moral, social and political responsibility for many campuses, establishing diversity and inclusion for all.

Past Training Includes:

  • LGBTQ 101
  • Best Practice for Serving Transgender Students
  • Supporting LGBTQ Students' Health


College-age Black Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV.  The HBCU Program partners with HBCUs to provide administrators and students with information, strategies, and best practices aimed at significantly reducing student risk on campus. HRC released a new comprehensive guide for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) administrators, staff and students outlining many of the critical steps higher educational institutions can take to help achieve an HIV-free generation. Click here for additional resources and information.

Who We Are 

Leslie Hall, MSW
Director, HBCU Program

Leslie Hall, HBCU Program Director
Leslie Hall is the Associate Director of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. In his role, Leslie provides leadership and expertise in higher education particularly focused on minority-serving institutions' efforts to achieve full equality and inclusion for LGBTQ students. One of his primary roles within the HBCU Program is to work with HBCU leaders on the implementation of fully LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. Additionally, Leslie leads and manages the annual HRCF HBCU Leadership Summit, where LGBTQ HBCU students engage in a week-long leadership development, ideitntiy and social development experience. Leslie holds a B.S. in sociology from Bowie State, a Masters of Social Work degree from Howard University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at Howard University. 

Rishard M. Butts
Program Coordinator, HBCU Program

Rishard Butts, HBCU Program Coordinator
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Rishard relocated to Washington, D.C. in August 2012 and attended the Howard University. There he received a Bachelor’s of Science in human development and psycho-educational studies from the School of Education. After completing his undergraduate studies, he accepted a full-time position at Howard University as the director of the Freshman Leadership Academy and executive assistant to the associate vice president for student affairs. He joined the HRC team in 2018. Rishard is passionate about leadership development, event/program planning, program development and management, and higher education administration.