Op-ed "Should ATL's HBCUs merge into a superschool?"

Discussion in 'The Root' started by Get These Nets, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    Should Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta merge into one super school?

    [​IMG]


    Should Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta merge into one super school?

    Get Schooled
    March 11, 2019

    By Scott Craft

    For years, even prior to the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University, there had been discussion of merging the Atlanta University Center schools. These discussions never developed into action due to a number of factors including hubris, prestige, tradition, and lack of foresight.

    With the recent events of so many struggling HBCUs such as Bennett College and Paine College, the AU Center should be seriously considering ways to sustain a more cohesive institution to withstand these types of economic and financial shortfalls.
    Clark College and Atlanta University merged out of necessity. Atlanta University, as a standalone graduate school, suffered declining enrollment and its budget was under exigency. Clark was the most logical choice and the school that would benefit the most from a consolidation with Atlanta University.

    Fourteen years later in 2002, Morris Brown lost its accreditation due to financial aid fraud, massive debt and embezzlement of public funds. In 2009, Clark Atlanta University was forced to fire 55 faculty members in response to what was deemed a budgetary and enrollment emergency. In the past few years Morehouse College suffered declining enrollment, budget shortfalls, a Moody credit rating drop and declines in national rankings of best black colleges.
    These issues did not arise without cause. After the Civil Rights Act of 1968, schools became increasingly desegregated and this in turn made for more competition for the historically black colleges. With the Atlanta University Center schools operating independently, they make themselves increasingly more vulnerable.

    The Atlanta University Center, with the right guidance, planning and strategy (not to mention sizable funding) could become the largest most prestigious black college in the country. If they could forego hubris, ego and status in order to look to the future, they could become a new Atlanta University that stands shoulder to shoulder with other city named schools such as New York University, Boston University and University of Chicago.


    It would be the Howard University of the South. It's time for the antiquated, some would even say sexist and old-fashioned structure of all male and all female collegiate learning environments to end. This is not to dismiss the great legacy and work these schools have done, but to honor them by charting a new sustainable course where the legacy of these institutions can thrive.
    Take the University System of Georgia’s recent mergers and consolidations, for example. The USG has aggressively moved to consolidate several of its state college and universities of recent years. Over the past six years, the USG has merged or consolidated 20 of their public colleges and universities in an effort to streamline and restructure its system of schools as a cost saving measure.

    There have been so many that it's almost hard to keep count. Some of the larger mergers were Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State, historically black Albany State and Darton State, Georgia Southern and Armstrong State, Georgia Perimeter and Georgia State, and Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences University.
    The university system saw a vulnerability in its ability to effectively sustain the number of small to midsize public college and universities in operation. In response, it decided that rightsizing and restructuring the system by merging some of these institutions would not only potentially make the institutions stronger and more viable, but also help to thwart the effects of an economic downturn and enrollment declines.
    The private Emory University had the benefit of sizable donations from Robert W Woodruff, the Coca Cola Foundation and Roberto Goizueta among other Coke dignitaries giving it the nickname Coca-Cola University. These donations essentially leapfrogged Emory past its peers, Mercer University and Oglethorpe University, into a powerhouse research institution.

    I believe the Atlanta University Center schools could certainly merge without those levels of donations. However, if say, some philanthropists were to donate in the millions, or even in the billions of dollars to an Atlanta University Center merger, it could transform the consortium into a powerhouse research institution keeping its mission to serve the underprivileged and disenfranchised.

    It would be a reincarnation of Atlanta University like it has never been seen before. The Morehouse school of Medicine could also consolidate into the institution, giving it an already fully operational medical school graduate program. Forming a law school would also be a great option given the lack of legal education opportunities in Atlanta. [There are only three law schools in the Atlanta area with one only recently receiving full accreditation from the ABA in 2005.]
    The Atlanta University Center schools need to decide what is more important, legacy and namesakes of missionaries and abolitionists or joining forces as one powerful entity to chart a future for continued black educational excellence. Merge your schools and let Atlanta University be once again reborn like a phoenix.

    =================================================================
    about the guest columnist

    In a guest column today, Scott Craft, a graduate of Albany State and Clark Atlanta universities, proposes merging Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University and the Morehouse School of Medicine to form a new powerhouse Atlanta University.


    Now, the four are part of what’s known as the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the world’s oldest and largest association of historically black colleges and universities.

    Craft earned a master’s degree in library and Information studies at Clark Atlanta University and is a professional of library science and academic and business research. In 2014, he was also among 100 librarians selected to attend the academic leadership institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has worked at several campuses in his career, including as a legal research librarian at Howard University.
     
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  2. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    It would be smart to do. But, they won't. People want the Morehouse and Spelman label.
     
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  3. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    The Atlanta University Center would be great -- as it started that way. It can bring back Morris Brown as well.
     
  4. Nerdy black guy

    Nerdy black guy I got the Yicki on me word to Mozzy. Supporter

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    Spelman grads would never allow this. They have the highest graduation rates amongst all HBCU’s and their finances are better than every single one. Those black women will absolutely crush this before it starts.
     
  5. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    [​IMG]
    fixed
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  6. AggieLean.

    AggieLean. Black American Cowboy. #PantherPosse

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    Man, at the company I work for, Georgia Tech grads are the majority, followed closely by Morehouse and Spelman grads. They’d have a fit if one mentioned this.

    Probably be a smart move, though. In fact, it’s probably a conversation that should take part in the HBCU world. A&T should’ve went to Bennett about a possible merge. Bennett’s financial issues will more than likely come up again in the future.
     
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  7. AggieLean.

    AggieLean. Black American Cowboy. #PantherPosse

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    Probably a bit overkill at this point and time to have more than one HBCU in a city or within close proximity to said city; especially if said city isn’t a major city.

    Strength in numbers. Better to have one major producing HBCU with 10,000+ than 2 or 3 small HBCU’s with 4-6,000 students, and struggling with accreditation issues and financial problems.

    I won’t lie; it kind of irked me of Bennetts struggles. I was upset with A&T. We got it to help them out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  8. staticshock

    staticshock Rip Aaliyah

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    No, they shouldn’t. Morris Brown closed due to incompetent leadership & bad paperwork..the AUC schools are fine how they are. If for some reason in the future they lose accreditation or something like Morris brown, then should merge.
     
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  9. David_TheMan

    David_TheMan Superstar

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    fukk these HBCUs
     
  10. NeilCartwright

    NeilCartwright All Star

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    Im coming from a different perspective, bc i didnt have family who are alumni, but i can tell you from first hand experience those schools are still struggling financially. The exact reasons are a whole nother conversation.

    I wouldnt be opposed to it but alot of people, (just IMO now) are so prideful, and actually look down on other public HBCU grads. Especially ones from Morehouse and Spelman. They lowkey look down on people from Clark. I just cant see them having to lose that "SpelHouse" label to associate with others.

    We gotta stop this classicism. All three schools in the AUC are basically on one campus and we got some :mjpls:over here
     
  11. EndDomination

    EndDomination Veteran Supporter

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    Edit: On second though, they should merge, like Harvard and Radcliffe College.

    Wilberforce and Central State University should have stayed as one school, there's no need for two HBCUs in the same city in Ohio, especially if they're both struggling.

    All five of the North Carolina HBCUs should merge, Elizabeth City and Fayetteville should have long become a single school, they've got Winston-Salem and and NC A&T too.
     
  12. EndDomination

    EndDomination Veteran Supporter

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    What they absolutely should not do, is form a law school though.
    We do not need another one. Especially not a Black one.
    Its a recipe for the financial ruin of both the parent school, and the students who enroll there.
     
  13. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    Same view but from a different perspective, this time from a former president of an HBCU
    [​IMG]
    Dr. Harry Williams of Delaware State University

    Why more HBCUs need to consider merging (opinion) | Inside Higher Ed

    It's Time to Talk Sustainability

    It's better for historically black colleges and universities to consider merging than to close in disgrace, argues Harry L. Williams.

    By
    Harry L. Williams
    July 5, 2018

    For those who love historically black colleges and universities, the narrative of our own resilience has always seemed to guarantee our survival. Many of us believe that our particular institution and others like it will always be around because they’ve always been around, even through difficult financial times. But this is a different era of choice, access and resources. Our colleges are no longer buoyed by institutionalized racism that helped to direct students and money to our campuses. Certain data suggests that HBCUs are no longer the top choice of most African-American students, faculty or administrators -- despite the relevance, impact and opportunity that our institutions afford to students who have the talent and drive to achieve.

    Unfortunately, the fact is that too many HBCUs may face the threat of closure within the next decade. When you read financial reports, accreditation reviews and enrollment data, many in our community are wondering how long some of our struggling institutions can survive. I certainly have heard a number of my colleagues quietly ask this question because they too care about the vibrancy and longevity of our HBCUs. With the impending closure of Concordia College Alabama and talk about an uncertain future for Denmark Technical College in just the first four months of 2018, there is cause for collective concern and a need for collective solutions.

    The question is, what can we do?

    It is time for us to come together, ask tough questions, discuss potential opportunities and develop solutions to prevent other HBCUs from closing. For decades, we’ve focused our efforts on attracting philanthropic donations, increasing support from federal and state governments, and fixing secondary systems to ensure that students are well prepared for college and equipped to maximize the time and money spent in their academic pursuits. I agree that all those factors matter, but perhaps it is time to expand this conversation and put out-of-the-box ideas on the table -- ideas that challenge the fundamental tenets of the higher education model.

    If we are to develop constructive solutions to the problem, we should consider, for example, the University System of Georgia’s principles of consolidation, which were developed to help evaluate ways to mitigate the expense of operating dozens of public campuses while addressing key areas of need in some of the state’s most vulnerable regions. Those principles led the system to consolidate Albany State University, an HBCU, with predominantly white Darton State College in 2016 to improve operational efficiency and to respond to dwindling industries and population losses in Southwest Georgia.

    Close to 300,000 students attend our membership of publicly supported HBCUs, and I think about their futures every day. Our students deserve the right to study in vibrant campuses and thriving communities. There is no perfect answer right now, but we need to start the discussion, think creatively and imagine how HBCUs might enhance their rich legacies and powerful academic profiles. Imagine if our colleges could operate without the financial pressures of unmanageable deferred maintenance, threatened loss of accreditation, employee furloughs or cuts, or the selling of assets just to keep the doors open?

    Many HBCUs are located within miles of one another and share a common mission to educate economically disadvantaged students from underrepresented communities. Some among them have invariably faced real challenges recently in finances, accreditation or enrollment -- or all three. Instead of competing for the same shrinking pool of students, might they find opportunities for partnership or, maybe, more radically, merger? Such steps might ensure the vitality and preserve the legacies of many more institutions than future financial projections and demographic changes might suggest is otherwise possible.

    If you are like me, your heart breaks for the students, faculty, staff and alumni who have to live with the possibility that the institutions they love could close. It would be better for a struggling HBCU to merge with a stronger HBCU with a new vision, rather than close for good, out of nostalgic reverence to tradition. Once an HBCU closes, we can never create a new one. Seeing an HBCU have the option to preserve its campus legacy, honor its obligation to its current students and keep its alumni proud by remaining open in some capacity -- and on its own terms -- is far more important than being forced to close because we all lacked the courage to talk about innovative ways for HBCUs to survive and thrive. HBCUs are the 21st-century exemplars of the cross section of social innovation and industrial necessity; they cannot be allowed to face extinction for the sake of history or tradition. For reasons that are obvious to all of us, they are worth fighting for.

    It will take a collective effort to secure the future for our black colleges. There has never been a real discussion about sustaining HBCU excellence, but the time has come for it. I do not have all the answers, but together I know we can find innovative ways to ensure that another HBCU does not simply close its doors.

    Many HBCUs in imminent danger of closure do not happen to be members of my organization, Thurgood Marshall College Fund. But as a former HBCU president and current leader of TMCF, I hope leaders from the black college community consider joining me at a special HBCU sustainability session during the American Association of State Colleges and Universities annual meeting at the end of October in Washington. We'll be announcing details on our website, so please check it later this summer if you are interested in participating and contributing your ideas.

    Now is the time to begin the conversation about the issue of greatest consequence facing our generation’s stewardship of our institutions’ collective legacy -- that of preserving, protecting and promoting the HBCU value proposition.
     
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  14. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    That's a take that I haven't heard before. Why would you say that there are enough law schools, and Black law schools?
    Is America producing a glut of attorneys?
     
  15. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    Hold Your Own Campus





    just jokes
     

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