by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
This is an immediate notice to Brooklyn's Black Community and those who wish us well. There is a crisis brewing at Medgar Evers College, and it's been allowed to fester and degenerate into a maisma with a cloud of gloom and a crisis of confidence looming over the entire campus, as well as the community.
Those of you who know the history of Medgar Evers College know that this school did not come about because of the generosity of the City University System. There was no benevolent being there who suddenly woke up and said, "Wow! There's no historically Black college or university or school that speaks to the needs of the Black students in New York, let us establish a college for them." No, that did not happen.
What did happen is the people like Jitu Weusi, Albert Vann, Annette Robinson, and other stalwarts of the community, got to together with the Brooklyn community, put together a plan and demanded a college be established that was more in line with the unique needs of the Black students. And it took months, to bring this about. It took years to find a president whose leadership finally made Medgar Evers the stellar college it has become under the City University System. Under his 20 years of leadership, Medgar Evers has made great strides, with more yet to come.
Well that progress appears to be halted in its tracks under the mis-direction of the newly appointed president, William Pollard. It took 20 years for Medgar Evers to gain its credibility, and in less than one year Pollard has apparently caused them to either reverse or disappear. Not only has he stated that he was not hired to lead a Black College; applicants from the surrounding community, who used to be able to apply directly for admission, now have to go through CUNY Central for admission. This has decimated the number of Black students who would have had the opportunity to begin their higher education.
To make it even more bizarre, Pollard has severed the contract with Carver Federal Savings (a Black Bank), and instituted CitiBank instead. What's up with that?
Additionally, Pollard asserted that there were students who were receiving financial aid illegally - and has terminated several students' lifelines to obtaining a higher education.
Now this might be understandable if Pollard was of any other ethnicity. But Pollard is allegedly African American (I'm reserving what I could really call him. There is a name for an individual who stabs his own people in the back, and gets paid to do so -- and since we all know what that name is, I don't need to go there - use your own imagination and experience).
The problems facing Medgar Evers has been compounded by the actions on the part of Howard Johnson, the individual selected as provost, who has caused several essential programs to be evicted from the campus. The combination of the two individuals have turned twenty years of progress backwards. MEC, despite the new buildings, is facing a downward spiral as a result of these two who serve to the detriment of the students and the community.
The Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity comprised of community members, professors, elected officials, and students, have been meeting consistently to try to stem the tide of this effort to undermine Medgar Evers' primacy as a Black school.
But here's my dilemma: With all this roiling right under the noses of Black people in Brooklyn, with the very future of their children's education in jeopardy, I want to know why is everyone else in Brooklyn sooooo quiet? Why is it that there aren't thousands of Brooklynites surrounding that campus demanding Pollard's exit? Why haven't our elected officials put their foot down and demanded his exit? Why all the posturing and the meetings. Why are we sitting here watching a car wreck as though we're driving down the I-95, waiting to see how many casualties before we act? What the Sam Hill is going on with us, with this wait and see attitude?
Don't we have enough assaults on our education with adding insult to injury?
I recently saw a movie on Ancient Mali, where they discovered thousand year old libraries that had to be protected from white maurauders who did not value our culture. They were able to devise ways to protect those treasures so that today the world marvels at the fact that our civilization predates the European system, and there is concrete evidence of that fact.
At the present moment, I am looking at a situation where the same genetic codes that caused us to protect our treasures then have to be re-inculcated now - before its too late. Our children, their education, our community, our accomplishment are individually and collectively treasures, and it is incumbent on us to protect it.
It doesn't matter if you never attended, or ever plan to attend Medgar Evers College; just as it does not matter if you or any of your children ever attended Paul Robeson (also under siege in Brooklyn); it's about the entire society of which you are a part. It is to be treasured because we developed it for us by us. It is not to be violated by interlopers who are paid to come in eviscerate progress made through devotion, dedication, diligence, blood, sweat and tears. It is as sacred as any church. It is just as much a treasure as gold, silver, or millions of dollars. Because it is an investment into our futures, our self-esteem, our self worth, our very empowerment.
So, why is the Black community so quiet? I am posting this in my blog, and I want each individual who receives it to send it to ten of their friends, relatives, associates - whether they live in Brooklyn or not - and tell them to get involved: Sign the petition below, write your congressman, write your city council representative, write your assembly members, write your state senators and tell them that you want Medgar Evers delivered from the hands of those that are looking to destroy it, and new leadership immediately established, if not sooner.
Not since the Civil Rights Era has there been more at stake. Many students who are now the grandchildren of those of that era, have chosen to take a stand against the denigration of Medgar Evers College, including the MEC NAACP. They have engaged other students who appear to be fearful of reprisals, in taking a principled stand to maintain Medgar Evers College is the only semblance of an Historically Black College/University in the North. Taking a cue from the examples of their parents and grandparents, these students understand the necessity of being involved in their future, and not sitting idly by while others destroy what has been so hard fought to bring into existence. It is heartening to see that our students are willing to take the baton and continue the mission.
Reaching back to the Mali documentary, I mentioned earlier, there was a theme song that has remained in my conscious-soulness, and I'm sharing the title with you here:
"IF THE PEOPLE WILL LEAD, THE LEADERS WILL FOLLOW"
Let that statement marinate in your mind for a moment. IF THE PEOPLE WILL LEAD, THE LEADERS WILL FOLLOW!!! We are the people. We are responsible for our leaders. If they do something we don't like, or if they don't represent us appropriately, we have the right and responsibility to put them on blast, and make them take corrective actions. We can either let them lead us by the noses, or we can take principled stands. In this instance, if we don't let the so-called leaders know of our displeasure, and of our desires, they will pretty much go along without having any inkling of our concerns. But once we stand up, stand together, and put our demands in their face, they either have to accede to our needs and demands, or get out.
It is time for the community of Brooklyn to take back their leadership, and send a signal to our representatives to get the job done now.
Below is a petition that you can copy, paste and sign in reference to the Medgar Evers College crisis. Please sign it and send it back to the email address highlighted below.
Also included is an update on the Coalition's activities to save Medgar Evers. Your help and support are needed immediately, if not sooner. So make it your business to be a part of the solution, not a part of the side line.
Stay Blessed &
NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
PETITION (cut and paste to print petition Email to MECCoalition@gmail.com or call 718.710.4528):
The Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity
January 5, 2011
Hon. Matthew Goldstein
City University of New York
535 E. 80th Street
New York, NY 10075
Re: A Call for the Resignation of Dr. Howard Johnson as Provost of Medgar Evers College
Dear Chancellor Goldstein:
I am very disturbed by the changes which have occurred since Dr. William Pollard became president of Medgar Evers College in August 2009. His policies have compromised the ability of the institution to serve its students and his policies have demoralized the College’s faculty. I am not adverse to change and recognize that it is necessary for the growth of any institution. However, this administration’s policies have hindered the ability of the institution to ensure the academic excellence and integrity of its mission as defined by the founders and stakeholders.
Many of the issues stem from the actions and unprofessional working style of the Provost, Dr. Howard Johnson, and from his lack of commitment to the mission of the College. Among other actions, this provost has violated CUNY Bylaws, union contracts and the Medgar Evers College Governance Plan in the non reappointment of faculty; removed chairs for spurious and unsubstantiated reasons; reduced support mechanisms and faculty resources for student success; oversaw the withdrawal of support for the Medgar College Preparatory School’s Dual Enrollment Program; and issued an eviction notice to the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions despite its formal approval by the College’s governing body, the College Council.
In view of the actions cited above and more, I request that you direct President Pollard to ask for the resignation of Provost Howard Johnson immediately. I am sure that the resignation of Provost Johnson will initiate the steps to resolve these critical issues at Medgar Evers College.
Full Name: *_________________________________________________
Email to MECCoalition@gmail.com or call 718.710.4528.
What’s Going on at Medgar Evers College? - THE FACTS
Presented by the Medgar Evers College Coalition for Academic Excellence and Mission Integrity (aka The MEC Coalition)
• Petition Letter to the Hon. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of the City University of New York
• Petition Letter to Dr. William L. Pollard, President, Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York
In view of the actions listed below, the faculty of Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York (MEC) affirmed a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE in the current Administration, and specifically, in the Office of the President, Dr. William Pollard and in the Office of the Provost, Dr. Howard Johnson.
At a meeting held by the Committee of the Faculty of the Whole, 89% of the faculty issued a vote of no confidence.
Under the administration of President Pollard and Provost Johnson, the following have occurred:
1. The administration has violated CUNY Bylaws, union contracts and the Medgar Evers Governance Plan in the non-reappointment of faculty.
2. The administration has disseminated notices of non-reappointment to faculty and staff via campus police, email, and visits to classrooms (in front of students), and offices.
3. The administration has removed the Chair of Education for spurious and unsubstantiated reasons (Per PSC Contract, Chairs in CUNY are elected by faculty, not appointed by President and Provost). The Chair of Education had been elected by the faculty in her department
for a three year term.
“WHAT WOULD MEDGAR DO?” STAND FOR JUSTICE!
On Monday, January 17, 2011 at the 25th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, (where Dr. William Pollard was invited to speak), we conducted a Silent Demonstration to protest the desecration of the mission of Medgar Evers College. The Mission of MEDGAR EVERS COLLEGE Is UNDER ATTACK!
4. The administration has reduced support mechanisms and faculty resources which include:
* Elimination of the Writing Center
* Elimination of the Center for Teaching and Learning
* Reduction of tutors in the Learning Center budget
* Reduction of staff in the College’s library
* Reduction of staff in the Student Computer Lab
* Reduction of resources and research opportunities for the Psych Lab
* Blocking of funding supporting faculty/student research and the mission of the College
5. The administration has issued an eviction notice to the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions despite its adherence to the formal application process and subsequent approval by Medgar Evers College’s governing body, the College Council, in accordance with the Policy Guidelines for Centers, Institutes, Consortia and Special Initiatives at The City University of New York (approved by the Board of Trustees, 27 February 1995) and the Medgar Evers College Governance Plan.
6. The administration has not hired faculty positions in academic departments, yet has hired numerous high level administrators and consultants.
7. The administration has withdrawn support for the Medgar Evers College Preparatory School’s Dual Enrollment Program which provides high school students with opportunities to take college level courses while enrolled in high school.
8. The administration has not announced a Master Plan or direction for MEC, after an entire year of governance.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF Medgar Evers College
* MEC was founded four decades ago during a period of institution building by communities of color across this country and in Central Brooklyn, specifically, to address the need for access to higher education, to be coupled with community engagement and development
* MEC has a proud history of leadership and involvement in advocacy that advances and promotes the political, cultural, social, economic and academic power of people of color in Central Brooklyn
* MEC is rooted in the progressive history of Central Brooklyn through its academic, professional, advocacy and civic programs
* MEC has created a culture of academic excellence for students and faculty
* The actions of the administration, as represented by the Offices of the President and Provost, demonstrate a lack of commitment to the “community–oriented” mission of Medgar Evers College and the community stakeholders of Central Brooklyn who helped to birth Medgar Evers College
Medgar Evers College also:
* Transforms the lives of individuals within their communities and the global world
* Provides students with access to high quality professional degree programs
* Offers 17 baccalaureate and 8 associate level degree programs in the liberal arts, science, health, business, and education
* Provides students who move from associate level to baccalaureate level degree programs with high academic standards
* Maintains a national and international presence through its Centers
* Offers conferences, seminars and workshops that support academic programs and student success
* Capture first place prizes in prestigious competitions like the Wharton Undergraduate Marketing Conference case competition
* Present their original research and scholarship at conferences across the globe
* Participate and are leaders in national student business associations of NABA (National Assoc. of Black Accountants, AMA (American Management Assoc.), CISTA (Computer Information Systems Technology Association, MECPA (Society of Public Administration), and MIA (Minority Investment Assoc.) which have won numerous awards.
* Are members of honor societies (Delta Mu Delta and Kappa Beta Delta) and participate in national and regional conferences that promote personal and career goals
* Matriculate as the first in their family to pursue higher education
About The Faculty
* Include distinguished scholars, researchers, and former members of the city, state and federal legislatures of the United States
* Are Involved in a range of research and grant activities in their disciplines
* Received numerous awards within their disciplines
* Include Fulbright scholars and a Guggenheim Fellow
* Collaborate with entities such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to conduct space science research, which included the launching of a satellite for government payloads
* Are Awarded research grants by the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Education, among others
* Include faculty and directors, who host national and international conferences, including:
o National Black Writers Conference
o Environmental Science Conference
o Social Work Conference
o Diopian Inquiry and Research on Education as Culture Transmission Conference
About The Centers
* Strengthen, enrich and support the College’s academic degree programs
* Serve as vehicles for research, training, advocacy and career development in public service and public policy fields
* Fulfill the College’s mission of communicating the knowledge of tradition, the teaching of scholars and the beauty and profundity of students’ cultural heritage
* Develop non degree and co-curricular cultural programs which serve students and a broad range of community residents
* Fulfill the College’s mission through interaction with community representatives, cultural and public institutions
The Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions (CNUS) has operated at Medgar Evers College for the past six years. CNUS provides critical policy research and advocacy training on criminal and juvenile justice system reform issues; develops initiatives, policy recommendations and programs aimed at increasing access, retention, and graduation rates for formerly incarcerated students; and promotes leadership and career development in the fields of public policy and advocacy related to criminal justice and civil rights.
The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy (DBC) is a think tank dedicated to forging solutions to the challenges confronting people of color living within urban communities in the United States and throughout the African Diaspora. DBC produces research, formulates policies, sponsors conferences, and produces public affairs media programming that advances economic and social justice.
The Center for Black Literature expands, broadens, and enriches the public’s knowledge and aesthetic appreciation of the value of black literature; continues the tradition and legacy of the National Black Writers Conference and serves as a voice and resource for black writers. It is the only Center devoted to this in the country.
The Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) is a community-based legal organization that specializes in addressing racial justice issues. CLSJ provides quality legal advocacy, trainings, and research services in a personal manner to people of African ancestry and the disenfranchised.
About the Medgar Evers College Preparatory School (MECPS)
* The MECPS was created as a partnership with Medgar Evers College
* The MECPS was cited by Department of Education, College Board and President Obama as an exemplary model of high school and college collaboration
* The MECPS was only one of three in the nation to win a College Board Inspiration Award Winner for helping underserved students achieve equitable access to higher education
* The MECPS ranked as one of the top best public high schools in Brooklyn
* The MECPS offers one of the largest Chinese language programs for students not from a Chinese background in the United States
For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/MEfortheCommunity. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to view this Facebook Page.
Send an email to MECCoalition@gmail.com or call 718.710.4528.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
Stay Blessed &