Coppin-Morgan merger proposal is opposed Task force members say 'no'; report seen reflecting that stand.


A task force is expected to recommend against merging Coppin State College and Morgan State University in a report next month to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

At its final meeting yesterday at Liberty Medical Center in West Baltimore, the task force completed a yearlong study of a proposal to merge the two historically black institutions. Task force members suggested cooperative ventures in a number of areas, especially urban studies. But the group said the two Baltimore schools should not be combined.

The group is also expected to call for increased state support to improve and enhance existing programs at the two schools.

The 12-member task force was formed in the wake of a Maryland Higher Education Commission report that raised the possibility of a merger between Morgan and Coppin.

The same report also suggested unifying the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

The commission's report was intended to explore ways to make Maryland's higher education institutions work more efficiently as state funding for education was reduced.The task force apparently has concluded that a merger would not meet those goals.

The Morgan-Coppin proposal generated controversy in the black community that led to several demonstrations against the idea.

The proposed merger was strongly protested by Calvin W. Burnett, president of Coppin State, an undergraduate college on the city's west side that has about 2,800 students.

Morgan State, a university offering graduate and undergraduate programs, has about 5,000 students.

Morgan is five miles from Coppin in the northern part of the city.

"It has been rewarding watching the apprehension and trepidation that many felt approaching this task replaced by elements of trust," Quentin R. Lawson, chairman of the task force, said in concluding remarks yesterday.

Mr. Lawson is vice chairman of the Higher Education Commission, which is scheduled to consider the report at a meeting Sept. 9.

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