Morgan President David Wilson speaks more obliquely about the building disagreement. "I wouldn't say there's any friction between Morgan and Towson over programs to be offered in Harford County," he says.
But he's adamant that Morgan has no plans to hold classes in a Towson building and that a multi-university center for Northeast Maryland is a better solution. In the meantime, Wilson hopes that Morgan's engineering program at HCC is just the beginning.
"My vision is that we would take our STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] and pre-professional programs and make them available to a pocket of the state that's underserved in these innovation disciplines," he says. "There's a need for higher education in that region, and we want to be a major player."
What upsets Harford leaders is that all parties agree on the need and both universities want to meet it, but action is impossible because of a philosophical disagreement.
"It's not just a source of frustration to me but to our community," says Golladay, the HCC president. "I've never seen a community so united behind a project. Everywhere I go, people ask, 'When are we going to have the 2+2 center?'"
Golladay estimates that 300 students a semester would use the building right off the bat. Many would seek a Towson education anyway, he says, but they'd love to complete their degrees without fighting Interstate 95 traffic and spending money on gas.
"We have a glaring gap in our ability to offer bachelor's degrees locally," he says. "We're the only region in the state that has so little access to four-year degrees."
Golladay says that if the state approves the project, the building could be ready for students within 18 months.
Coleman says that Morgan plans no legal action to block the project if it gains approval. "This is not a strenuous objection," he says. "This is just a case of Morgan putting its position on the record."
Leaders of both universities say they remain hopeful that Morgan and Towson can work side by side in Harford County. In fact, both already offer classes at the Higher Education and Conference Center in Aberdeen.
"There's room for a lot of institutions up there," Loeschke says. "We don't need to be the only one."
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