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Setting the Record Straight on Fulfilling the Legacy and Mission of Medgar Evers College

In the May 19 – 25 edition of the New York Amsterdam News, President William Pollard took out a full two-page color advertisement entitled “Fulfilling the Legacy and Mission of Medgar Evers College.”  The Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity feels compelled to respond to several statements in this advertisement which are inaccurate and misleading.  It is important that readers of the Amsterdam News as well as members of the Medgar Evers College community, faculty, staff and students have accurate information about what is happening at Medgar Evers College.

Statement I
Medgar Evers College provides nearly $1 million in financial support to each of our centers to perform work and research in areas such as social justice, literacy and voter registration.

This is not true. No centers at Medgar Evers have received $1 million in financial support.  centers must raise all of the program money for the programs they offer.

Statement II
To guarantee that they – and all our scholars – have the tools to succeed, we have embarked upon a master planning process that will guide the institution over the next few years.

This has not happened in the two years since the president has come on campus.  Faculty asked the president to set up a meeting of the Master Plan Committee during the Fall 2009 semester.  A committee meeting has still not been called.  At a recent Student Town Hall Meeting on May 31, the president announced that he did not have a Master Plan and that since CUNY required one by 2013 he would begin the process to develop one in the upcoming year. By 2013, the college would have been without a Master Plan for four years.

Statement III
The new Community Justice Program, a partnership with Charles “Joe” Hynes, the Kings County District Attorney, will integrate expertise in community reentry with academically rigorous teaching and research to assist formally incarcerated individuals, as well as to provide our students with invaluable hands-on experience in this arena.
There has been no information disseminated to the college community about the Community Justice program.  There is no office or staff for this program on campus.  In addition, the administration blocked funding for the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, which had been on campus for seven years.  They also issued an eviction notice to the center.  During its tenure at the college, the Center for NuLeadership created and deployed new and innovative paradigms for solving community development and related criminal justice challenges in communities of color.

Statement IV
To meet and exceed student needs and expectations, we must offer a greater variety of degree programs with richer co-curricular and extracurricular experiences.

President Pollard and his administration have blocked the offering and development of new academic programs: including a BA in Music Industry and Entertainment Studies and a BS in Health Information Management.  No new academic programs have been created in the two years since the president has come to the college.  And recently, South End Press, a nonprofit independent progressive press which had partnered with the Center for Black Literature and the DuBois-Bunche Center to support publishing of faculty and to enhance the academic programs of the college, was told that their contract would not be renewed and they had to leave the campus.

The Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity is a broad-based group of concerned college stakeholders, including faculty, students, administrative staff, center directors, community leaders, elected officials, clergy and service providers.  Medgar Evers College was founded on the principles and legacy of the historically black colleges, those that immersed students in an educational and culturally rich, nurturing environment of faculty, staff and administrators that emphasized the importance of activism and service to the community.  When this legacy is misrepresented, we feel compelled to respond.
Statement by the Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity.

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