As a furloughed University of Baltimore faculty member and director of UB's MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts, I want to offer another perspective to the recent news about UB’s financial troubles (“University of Baltimore rolls out furlough plan amid declining enrollment,” Dec. 7). Over the years, many of the distinguished poets, memoirists and fiction writers who have visited UB to give readings and visit undergrad and graduate creative writing classes have remarked that they wished they worked here, recognizing that they are among students who are serious about their work, eager to engage and who believe their writing can make a difference in the world.
They are among students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds who have real stories to tell. Three of our recent grads have book contracts; MFA alum D. Watkins spends hundreds of hours a year visiting city schools and turning young students on to reading and writing, as well as appearing regularly in the national media as a cultural commentator. UB is a place where beautiful and significant things happen, where poetry comes alive.
A couple weeks ago, the Carroll County Board of Education suspended field trips to Baltimore based on their misperception about rampant crime. Those of us who live and work in the city know that the vast majority of Baltimore is no more dangerous than anywhere else; in fact, its community and vibrancy enrich us every day. I hope that your readers haven’t formed a similar misperception about UB, that because we’re having some short term financial problems, the quality of our students and their education is suffering. Please know that nothing could be further from the truth.