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Coppin professors group responds to college review

A professors' group at Coppin State University said Monday that it shared a review committee's improvement goals for the traditionally black college, but questioned why the reviewers didn't address certain funding issues nor a perceived lack of oversight by university system leaders.

Last month, a committee appointed by the university system's Board of Regents recommended significant changes to the struggling institution, including a greater selectivity in admissions. The recommendations are meant to reverse Coppin's poor graduation rate — the worst in the state at 15 percent — and enrollment shortfall, among other problems.

The Baltimore college, which had about 3,600 students last fall, is roughly 2,000 students shy of its target enrollment, making its per capita spending appear artificially high, according to the Coppin chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

The group sent the Board of Regents an 18-page analysis and response to the committee's report. It claims that a list of comparable schools used to judge Coppin is misleading and that years of under-funding — the subject of a federal lawsuit — at historically black schools has hurt Coppin.

A faculty no-confidence vote last year of then-President Reginald S. Avery revealed the teachers' concerns.

"The committee report does not address the failure in leadership of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents … and the chancellor in their role of providing budgetary and administrative oversight for CSU during the five years of the previous administration," states the document sent to the board.

Chancellor William E. Kirwan previously told The Sun that he adequately supervised Coppin's presidents and that the board stepped in to order this review after Avery resigned.

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