Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Segregation, state's neglect at heart of Coppin's 'mess'

Coppin State University is a mess ("Tough love for Coppin," May 19)? The "mess" that Coppin confronts stems mainly from continuing vestiges of de jure segregation that it and the three other Maryland historically black colleges and universities still face. Add neglect to the mix. The University System of Maryland, the facilitator of the Special Committee Report examining Coppin, is part of a system that remains responsible for these vestiges.

Nowhere will you find the term "disparities" or the phrase "comparable and competitive disparities" (compared with Maryland's traditionally white institutions) in this report.

Comparable and competitive disparities are descriptions plaintiffs' lawyers' use in the lawsuit, The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education v. Maryland's Higher Education Commission, as well as those used by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights against Maryland. Defendants are the University System and the Maryland Higher Education Commission. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Fordice is the lawsuit's basis.

Through using dubious time frames, accounting methods and statistics, the state claims that no disparities now exist; Coppin received more than any other public university. Furthermore, it says that Coppin is culpable for any of its resource shortfalls. Why? The argument goes that Coppin's failure to address low retention and graduation rates and campus inefficiencies enhance the problem.

The system and the state see no relationship between Coppin's underfunding dating back to before the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision and Coppin's performance. It claims no culpability in its failure to provide oversight to identify and help fix inefficiencies. It denies liability. The USM knew about many recommendations made in the Special Report for years. Now they are passed off as new revelations.

The Sun's editorial notes that the "committee was stacked with Coppin alumni, faculty and staff" to give creditability to the report's accuracy. The lawsuit plaintiffs represent alumni and students. They represent thousands. Add university faculty and staff. Add working class students, who might be blocked from entering Coppin because their crime is attending an inferior, second-class school system. Add Maryland taxpayers who know the real story. Add taxpayers who are learning the real story — no thanks to the Sun. Redirect the tough love.

Kenneth O. Morgan, Baltimore

The writer is an assistant professor of urban studies at Coppin State University.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Tough love for Coppin
    Tough love for Coppin

    Our view: A report to the university system regents makes clear that Coppin State needs to overhaul its academics, admissions and administration if it is to fulfill its mission

  • Admit Coppin State University is a failed institution and close it
    Admit Coppin State University is a failed institution and close it

    Your article on Coppin State University's new science building truly boggles the mind ("Science center may help Coppin close the gap," May 3).

  • Rodricks wrong on bay pollution
    Rodricks wrong on bay pollution

    It is time for those writing for The Sun's editorial pages to check their facts. Columnist Dan Rodricks writes that poultry farmers are allowing their chicken manure to run into the Chesapeake Bay ("Larry Hogan has a chance to be a green governor," Dec. 13.

  • Protest unnecessary when justice is served
    Protest unnecessary when justice is served

    Have they really missed the point? First, it was Police Commissioner Anthony Batts who wondered if there would be protest marches following the alleged shooting of police officer Andrew Groman by a black man, Donte Jones, here in Baltimore. Then there was the letter from a reader complaining...

  • Batts got it right by standing up for his officers
    Batts got it right by standing up for his officers

    Three cheers to Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts for his comments regarding the police officer who was shot while on duty ("Officer shot in West Baltimore," Dec. 15).

  • Congress shortchanged pensioners
    Congress shortchanged pensioners

    Congress has passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that includes a provision giving trustees of multi-employer pension plans the ability to cut pensions earned by 1.5 million workers and retirees. Many pensions will be cut by up to 50 percent to retirees who are in no position to make up...

Comments
Loading