How Much Longer Will President Pollard Lead Medgar Evers College?

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Guest Opinion

Medgar Evers College president, William Pollard

Medgar Evers College has failed the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s 5-year review of the accreditation, receiving a negative warning. The school’s status as a senior college is in jeopardy. Persons speaking off-the-record are saying that President Dr. William Pollard’s days leading Medgar Evers College may be numbered.

Pollard began burning community bridges the moment he arrived. He removed Carver Bank ATMs from the campus. He seized the personal computers of Center for NuLeadership staff and banished the organization from the campus, prompting state and federal lawsuits. He suspended community activities such as the weekly jazz concert series, generating backlash. He bucked tradition by moving the school’s graduation from the campus to Jacob Javits Center, with no tangible benefit to show for it. He unilaterally decided to close off traffic on Crown St. in order to create a grass space for the commuter college, angering homeowning neighbors.

The school’s mission to educate has come into question under Pollard. There have been several student walk-outs, including one caused by a mid-semester financial aid fiasco. On-time graduation rates are flat. A post-Wall Street meltdown spike in enrollment was mismanaged. The college received grant funding for a new Marketing Dept., yet none was created.

Most recently, due to a pending $22 million renovation of the school’s library, over 80% of the library holdings have been transferred to an alternative off-campus site, Queens College, due to lack of space. With the current library unavailable, students are being directed to a smaller library in the proposed Carroll Street space where there will be “no library space” for students to study, to engage in study groups or to be surrounded with the tools of their success—books and computers.  For almost two years during the proposed renovation, students will have to search out random “empty rooms” in the Carroll Street Building to read and study, or commune to another CUNY college to access the study materials they require.

Pollard has had several faculty “no confidence” votes.

For many who remember how Medgar Evers College began in a humble storefront and helped it grow into a multibuilding campus in a gentrifying area, a change in the college’s leadership can’t come too soon.     

    – Mary Alice Miller

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