Former Maryland Higher Ed Regent: Coppin Review is Latest in Legacy of False Promises to MD Black Colleges
The Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper recently published an editorial from A. Dwight Pettit, a noted Baltimore attorney and former member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, on the state’s review and recommendations for Coppin State University. From the editorial:
There appears to be good reason for skepticism. Of Coppin’s many needs, it has never suffered from a shortage of reports and studies. Several have been issued over the last three decades with the best examples being a 1981 study on the status of Maryland’s HBCUs; the 2001 Toll Report on the revitalization of Coppin State College; and the 2008 HBI study issued in conjunction with a special state higher education funding commission report. Each of these documents speaks objectively to the critical needs of Coppin and by implication, to the lack of State investment in the campus. None blamed the administration, the faculty or even the students for any underperformance. Apparently, the authors of these reports realized that even the most skilled president would find it difficult, if not impossible, to effectively and efficiently manage an institution without the required resources. Note that the earlier reports were done under the watchful eye of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
Also, unlike the University of Maryland report, the earlier reports were developed by independent groups whose members were not dependent on the University of Maryland, the legislature or the governor for their livelihood.
Can a state which has neglected recommendations from independent audits and federal requirements to equitably fund its black colleges be now trusted to support its own recommendations for Coppin State? And what about the timing of the review? Is Coppin in more danger today than it has been over the last 20 years, or is the state reaching for leverage in the lawsuit it is currently facing for its historic neglect of Bowie State, Coppin State, Morgan State and Maryland Eastern Shore?