The Medgar Evers Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity (the Coalition) held a silent protest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration with Medgar Evers College. Faculty, students and community leaders took to the streets to deliver their message of disapproval of the current administration of Medgar Evers College.
Demonstrators handed out thousands of leaflets with the question, “What would Medgar do?” Demonstrators demanded the resignation of Provost Howard Johnson and strongly challenged the leadership of President William Pollard. Other demands included: the restoration of the staff and student support services to ensure academic excellence; restoration of the open enrollment policy at the college; support for the college’s centers and community programs; the redistribution of resources allocated to outside consultants and the shifting of those resources to student support services and immediate action toward providing gender equity in top-level administrative positions. New York City Council members Letitia James (35th CD), Charles Barron (40th CD), Jumaane Williams (45th CD) and state Committeeman Walter Mosley (57th AD) also stopped by to encourage the demonstrators to keep up the good fight.
“The administration has ignored the students of Medgar Evers College for far too long and today we were going to be heard,” said Lorraine Broadway, Vice President of the MEC Chapter of the NAACP. “We truly honored the spirit of Dr. King by standing up for our rights in a nonviolent and productive manner.”
Over the past several months, community leaders, faculty members and students have been at odds with the current administration over the handling of non-reappointments of distinguished faculty members, the elimination and reduction of vital student services, and the treatment and eviction of the Center for NuLeadership. In addition, faculty at Medgar Evers College recently convened and approved a vote of “no-confidence” in the current administration of President William Pollard and Provost Howard Johnson. Faculty cited the administration’s poor and questionable leadership decisions, removal of student support services and lack of commitment to the college’s community-oriented mission as some of the reasons for the “no-confidence” vote. In their resolution of “no confidence”, the specific examples of the removal of Carver Bank ATMs from the college’s campus, the eviction of the Center for NuLeadership, and the unilateral removal of well-respected chairs and faculty were provided as examples.
“Our objective was to proactively honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and the civil rights movement in a way that King supporters could relate to. We also came out to create more awareness about the injustices currently happening at Medgar Evers College. We feel that we have achieved that,” said Lumumba Bandele, one of the organizers of the Coalition and a former faculty member of Medgar Evers College.
The Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity was formed by students, faculty and community members to protect the integrity of the mission of Medgar Evers College and to promote academic excellence and scholarship and to protect vital resources allocated to students.