Morgan State needs a world-class administration to build a world-class campus

October 17, 2011

Regarding your recent article "Morgan president says campus needs facelift" (Oct. 11), Morgan State University students, faculty and staff do indeed deserve a world-class campus, but they also need a world-class administration dedicated to the best interests of everyone at the school.

As the union representing Morgan employees, our experience has been that Morgan cuts corners and does an exceptionally poor job of oversight, especially in the maintenance of the campus.

Morgan has been assigning state maintenance projects, primarily in the physical plant, to private companies that do mediocre work yet continue to receive lucrative contracts from the school.

Not only do these types of contracts take jobs away from experienced state workers, the work is being given to unknown entities with unknown motives, which in turn actually harms the community Morgan is attempting to empower.

Meanwhile, hundreds of staff on campus work as "contractual employees," with no health insurance or retirement benefits. Some of these "temporary" staff members have been there for as long as 10 years. Many staffers are not given the proper equipment to do their jobs, forcing them to bring tools from home. Nor are training opportunities provided for in-house staff that should be available to help them take better care of the campus.

By privatizing its physical plant maintenance, Morgan State University is handing over public control of public services to private businesses that have no loyalty to the institution they are contracted to serve. There is no control, no transparency and little oversight as to how services are being provided and what companies are providing them.

Before proceeding with his grand plans, we hope Morgan's new president will first take a long hard look at what is really going on at the university. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is prepared to work closely with the new administration to make the president's world-class vision of the school a reality for the entire Morgan State community.

Michael Stewart, Baltimore

The writer head of Local 1885 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

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