Saturday Mailbox


September 07, 2002

Morgan State simply seeks excellence

Morgan State University has recently become a topic of much discussion ("Morgan cries poor; Md. lawmakers disagree," Aug. 4) on the extent to which Morgan is appropriately funded to accomplish its mission as the state's public urban university.

Morgan is the first to concede that over the last 15 years, the state of Maryland has made a major investment in the university. This investment has supported the renovation or replacement of the most deteriorated campus structures and the construction of two additional facilities.

These campus improvements have contributed enormously to the success of the university in nearly doubling enrollment, improving the quality of academic programs, recruiting quality faculty members and increasing the research and grant dollars the campus attracts by more than 500 percent.

They have been a major factor in the university being recognized nationally for its major role in promoting the education of African-Americans generally and, in particular, in science and engineering.

Morgan's retention rate now rivals those of some of the best public urban universities in the country whose student bodies are similar to ours.

But as proud as we are of the efforts to restore the existing plant, the restoration has taken precedence over the kind of expansion and growth in new facilities seen at other state campuses with which Morgan is seeking parity.

And the renovation and replacement effort has taken an unusually long time.

The state's process provides for about a five-year to seven-year period from the request for a facility to its completion. But at Morgan, that process has taken an average of 14 years per building. The new Fine Arts Center, for example, took 20 years.

Meanwhile, the university has accumulated a large backlog of building projects that desperately need funding. Chief among those projects are dedicated facilities for architecture, hospitality management, technology transfer programs, graduate studies and student services.

So what some may perceive as "Morgan crying poor" is really a loud and urgent plea for funds to move the campus to the next level.

Morgan does not begrudge other universities the higher level of funding they have received. Such funding is critical to their competing with the very best public universities in the country.

Morgan simply wishes to have the same opportunities for funding to achieve similar levels of excellence and distinction in fulfilling its mission.

Earl S. Richardson


The writer is president of Morgan State University.

State shows Coppin no respect at all

After reading the article about Morgan State University's money crunch, I was totally shaken by the disparity in money among state's colleges and universities ("Morgan State cries poor; Md. lawmakers disagree," Aug. 4).

I do not hold any ill feelings toward Morgan, but what about the school on North Avenue? I cannot believe that the state has treated Coppin State College so poorly -- in fact, I am totally embarrassed by the state of Maryland.

The state's Democratic Party has ignored the plight of Coppin for years -- and then some Democrats had the nerve to suggest the Coppin choir should not sing for a Republican candidate ("Sour note on fund-raiser," April 2). I hope Coppin sings for anyone willing to put money into the school.

This is not a black and white issue. It is a case of visible, total neglect, without regret.

George K. Tilghman


Issue `call to arms' to vanquish Hussein

Just as I feared it would, less than one year after Sept. 11 the world's leadership, including President Bush, is hedging its bets in the war on terrorism.

I speak of the lack of support around the world, and the waning support within the Bush administration, for an invasion of Iraq.

I am a liberal Democrat. I would love to have world peace. Unfortunately, war was declared against the West long ago (well before Sept. 11). We can run or we can fight.

There is no dispute that Iraq has chemical weapons, which it has used against Iran and against its own people. There is little dispute that Iraq is developing a nuclear capability. There is no dispute that Iraq supports world terrorism.

Europe sees no need to take on Iraq. But just open any history book and look up the term "appeasement" as it relates to Germany in the 1930s.

It's a good thing that the passengers on Flight 93 were not so complacent.

I, for one, ask that President Bush issue a "call to arms" (much as President Roosevelt did in 1941) for every able-bodied American man to join an overwhelming invasion force "for the duration" and once-and-for-all rid the world of this incredible Iraqi threat.

I'm 44 years old and a bit out of shape, but I'm a good shot and I ain't afraid to die.

President Bush, "Let's roll."

Keith Biddle


Treatment works better than prison

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