Is Morgan State University’s autonomy in danger?
A new bill in the Maryland General Assembly would guarantee that Historically Black College Morgan State University remain an independent institution of higher education.
The legislation presented by Baltimore Senator Joan Carter Conway would secure Morgan State’s freedom from being absorbed into the University System of Maryland.
This bill is in response to a lawsuit from 2006 that claimed nearby predominately white institutions of higher learning were creating programs that were already in place within the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
A consortium of former HBCU students filed the suit to prove that the state of Maryland placed favor on predominately white institutions of higher learning.
As a way to settle the squabble over the corresponding programs, it was proposed that Morgan State University merge with the University of Baltimore, a move that has angered educational leaders at Morgan State.
Noted by Morgan State’s President David Wilson, the school has been an independent higher education learning center for nearly 30 years. Changing that now would mean that Morgan State is in need of additional oversight or assistance — and there are no indications that it is necessary.
As Morgan State supposedly received unfair treatment from the state of Maryland by allowing neighboring schools to create duplicate programs, this likely undermined the legitimacy of Morgan State.
Merging two institutions in the name of peace or simply attempting to create a solution that’s in the best interest of the state should be a no go as Morgan State did nothing wrong to lose its impunity.
It’s why the bill is serving as a precaution in case the state attempts to merge the two schools.
But this matter underscores the importance of HBCUs and the thought that some hold that HBCUs are under attack.
If Morgan State offers a program that is available for all students, why allow a neighboring institution to create the same program if the state isn’t attempting to weaken Morgan State and other HBCUs in Maryland?
Senator Conway’s bill has not emerged for a vote and it is unclear what chances is has of passing.