Journal misrepresents Ehrlich's plans for college

Reports he wants to make Coppin a two-year school

October 26, 2002|By Ivan Penn and Sarah Koenig | Ivan Penn and Sarah Koenig,SUN STAFF

In a statement that could have dealt a blow to Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. among African-Americans, The Chronicle of Higher Education incorrectly stated in its yesterday's edition that he was proposing to turn Coppin State College into a two-year vocational school.

The Chronicle reported that Ehrlich, the Republican nominee for governor, "proposes changing Coppin State, an historically black college, to a two-year vocational institution so that it will cost the state less money."

The Chronicle had sent surveys to gubernatorial candidates nationwide, but neither Ehrlich nor his campaign responded. So an intern compiling the listing used a second-hand source for the information, said Jeff Selingo, editor of the Chronicle's government and politics section. "It's not a credible report," Selingo said. "We're actually going to be running a correction on this."

The statement appears to have been a reference to a suggestion by Baltimore lawyer George Liebmann, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 1998, who recommended the idea to Ehrlich in an opinion article published in The Sun last year.

Last fall, a commission led by John S. Toll, president of Washington College in Chestertown, reported that the state had so neglected Coppin State during the past two decades that it would take $300 million in capital funds during the next 10 years to bring the campus up to par.

African-American political leaders have been calling for increased support for Coppin State.

If Ehrlich had opposed such a plan, it could have hurt him among African-American voters who strongly support maintaining the state's historically black schools.

Ehrlich has pledged to increase funding for Coppin, which he says has been neglected by the administration of Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

"That's never been anywhere close to my intention," Ehrlich said of the report in the Chronicle. "That's just a complete inaccuracy. That has absolutely nothing to do with our campaign at all."

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