Morgan succeeded — until the state interfered

The Sun's recent editorial regarding historically black colleges and universities in this state ("Maryland HBCU case: A ruling without remedies," Oct. 13) reflects some of the circular, tortured reasoning to which the newspaper resorts on occasions.

I worked in the graduate school at Morgan State University from 1972 until 1985. It should be noted that in 1974, the graduate enrollment at Morgan was over 1,000 students and was racially divided about 50–50 between black and white students.

The white students were attracted by a master's in business administration program and other subject matter graduate degrees (history, English, math, music, etc.) not offered at other public colleges in the Baltimore area. Many of the students were school teachers from both public and private K-12 schools in the area. And I can assure you most of those students were pleased with the education they received.

Morgan was a college, like most HBCUs, that had always been open to white enrollment and whose faculty and administration were racially mixed. The conversion of the private university into a public one in 1975 and the development and approval of new duplicative programs at other schools drew the white enrollment away. Morgan had met its obligation, and at least at the graduate level, had desegregated those programs. (Also, I believe the same had occurred at Bowie State University.)

Whether because of policy or politics, the programs at the HBCUs were disrupted when duplicative programs were approved, but The Sun suggests that there should be minimal disruption in resolving the issue. No doubt care must be taken to prevent chaos, but the court decision recommends a solution that history shows can be successful.

It was not Morgan that failed to meet its obligation but the state of Maryland that created circumstances that made it difficult for them to continue to do so. I assume current state leaders will continue to fight to avoid the recommended resolution.

Richard Morrell, Lochearn

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