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Morgan State creates panel with hopes to help Baltimore

Morgan State University has created a task force with hopes to come up with a plan to fix Baltimore's most intractable problems.

Prompted by the April unrest over the death of Freddie Gray, the university's new 27-member "'Gray Days, Brighter Tomorrows" panel will work with the city's OneBaltimore initiative to try to develop short- and long-term solutions to the city's education, poverty, public safety, public health, unemployment and other woes, University President David Wilson announced Thursday.

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Gray, 25, died from a fatal injury in police custody, setting off weeks of protesting that erupted into riots and prompted a National Guard deployment and a curfew.

"The City of Baltimore can no longer afford to take a Band-Aid approach to the acute problems that have plagued citizens for decades and that prevent the City from growing and thriving," Wilson said.

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In the announcement, the university said the panel will study the issues and develop a plan to address them by next spring. An interim report on its progress is expected by the end of the fall semester.

The university pledged to help address the problems they find — serving as an "anchor institution" to expand education in the city, and working with neighborhoods, nonprofits, churches, government and other institutions to implement changes. Morgan State did not give a cost for the panel or any specific details on what results they expect to come of it.

"What we do is going to be vital to the future of our community," Wilson said.

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