Battles raging at CUNY's Medgar Evers College - Anyone involved? - Brooklynian

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Battles raging at CUNY's Medgar Evers College - Anyone involved?

Medgar Evers College, the predominantly black Brooklyn outpost of New York City's CUNY network, was named after the slain civil rights hero when it was founded in 1969. If Evers were alive, he would surely be chagrined to know that decades later, the school has a dismal graduation rate (10 percent) and a new school president who's battling with faculty, students and residents over issues small (the removal of black-owned Carver Bank ATMs on campus in favor of Citibank) and large (the attempted eviction of the Center for NuLeadership, an on-campus organization that assists formerly incarcerated students, and the rejection of a $2.4 million grant that would spur the enrollment of hundreds of nonviolent offenders over the next few years). For his part, the school's president, William L. Pollard, told the New York Times in August, "When you do the work in academic leadership, you’re not going to satisfy all the people all the time." But that's not good enough for outspoken opponents such as Kevin Powell, who wrote on his blog that "the mess at Medgar Evers College is a national outrage, and a deeply moral failing, too."

From "The Root" (http://www.theroot.com/buzz/medgar-evers-college-not-living-its-name)

Comments

  • Damn that's kind of sad. I'm sure dude is under pressures from other forces though, like keeping the place financially solvent. That's probably at the root of most of the problems, it seems. Wish there were more details brought forth

  • krowonhill I feel like you may not have seen Waiting for Superman. Carver? Really? 10% graduation rate..? There are many issues that face inner-city schools. The lack of preparation is the main culprit. Children who can't read,write or speak the language that they plan to study in and math..forget math..the feeding/supporting schools send area kids to the CUNY level w weak or no skills to succeed. I hope that you look past the exception and look big picture..I hope organizations like NuLeadership help people who need it, but the sq feet can't be given for free, a private citizen can underwrite the entire enterprise and write it off on their taxes..the net/net to a multimillionaire is nothing but goodwill and helping an excon get life back on track and break the cycle. If the ME wants to change everything from his ATM provider,people who occupy space on his campus he should do it..10% graduation rate means the schools charter is a total do over. I am sure that NuLeadership is a 501c and can solicit somebody for a donation that is totally tax deductable..there are empty store fronts on every street throughout the area that are competitively priced w the campus sq footage. Pick your battles students protesting who provides ATMs rather than a 10% grad rate is a great example of bad,bad priorities

  • Its also important to look behind the numbers. ME has a lot of working students and people who take much longer to graduate. Its not unusual for their population to take 7 or 8 years to complete a four year degree because they are cycling in and out of school based upon when they have both time and money to complete their education. That does a lot to skew their graduation rates.

  • so where did the church/morality thread go?

  • CTK, I agree with you that we could use more details about this. I'm surprised that the goings on haven't received higher profile media attention. ME isn't Harvard, but the faculty still voted "no confidence" in their president. Pretty big news, especially for a public that pays into the CUNY system through tax dollars. I'm hoping there's someone in the Brooklynian audience who may be involved somehow with ME and can provide perspective.

    I get the impression from the NY Times article back in August that the President is claiming that his efforts are in the interest of meeting budgetary concerns as CTK theorizes. The faculty response seems to be objecting to his actions on the grounds that they will prevent ME from meeting its unique goals as an academic institution. Specifically, ME was founded with the intention of serving the needs of its surrounding community in Central Brooklyn, primarily low-income and predominantly black students including apparently a significant population of formerly incarcerated men and women.

    catwalkertexasranger, I believe that you are saying that a 10% graduation rate for a college whose student base comes out of the Brooklyn public schools is understandable given the students' poor secondary preparation? Perhaps you are also saying that concerns such as which company provides bank ATMs on campus are trivial compared to the mission to graduate students who arrive with such dismal secondary preparation? I can't guess what you meant by "I hope that you look past the exception and look big picture." BTW ... I can't claim authorship of the article from The Root.

    I hadn't heard of the Center for Nu Leadership before, but I'm impressed. It's a hybrid organization that supports both the development and training of formerly incarcerated folks and also research about the phenomenon of (in their words) "the mass incarceration of Black men and women" and its effect on communities. It's run by a former prisoner with a PhD. While catwalkertexasranger suggests they set up shop elsewhere with private funding, their mission as it is currently conceived does seem to depend upon being under the CUNY umbrella since they collaborate frequently with other colleges and faculty. (http://www.mec.cuny.edu/spcd/caddi/nuleadership.asp)

  • I read recently that it was budgetary as well -- just like all schools (college or otherwise) there is no money.

    I do not agree with Catwalkertexasranger at all. Firstly, I refuse to see Waiting for Superman because it will infuriate me. Charter schools are not the answer.

    ....ah, don't get off topic...

    right

    I think that the schools in Brooklyn can be terrible and can be amazing - each is very different. it's ridiculous to think that because ME tends to get local students they must be too uneducated to graduate. My actual guess is more what homeowner said - getting a degree while working and possibly having a family is tough. They make be taking one class per semester - meaning 2 or 3 classes per year. That'll take you like 10 years to graduate.

  • Here's a page with statistics about the school from 2007 and 2008-09. It looks like they have about a 10% graduation rate for four year degrees, but they actually awarded more associates degrees last year (390 vs. 332)even though there are fewer associates degree programs at the school. They also have a lot of turnover (40% of all full time students and 60% of all part-time students don't return each year). 50% of the students are older than 25 and 24% are older than 35.

  • x sorry that is the conclusion you have about the Superman film. the point is that when you have a majority of the students failing..it may not be the students ..instead the school and it's basic design may be flawed. Kids unable to speak English or young people who will quit their job if they can't get their street name on the employment name tag(Best Buy, Path Mark At Center)are very emotional although not rational. The ATM should be bid out and the best price should be awarded the contract to provide service. If a school that offers 4 year degrees has a dismal record of graduation then turn it into a 2 year school.don't let they moniker of accomplishment hang on a fake 4 year school..if you had any other business giving 10% on promise they would be shut down..oh here are 10 of the 100 french fries you ordered..we put in 10% of the oil in your car..I cut 10% of your hair..your kid will get better 9 years from now..3500 students and 350 degrees per year. Banks and the machines they provide are not an educational concern

  • catwalkertexasranger:

    I guess people have different priorities when it comes to the ATMs - on that we can argue back and forth and not agree on anything.

    In regards to the film, I agree that it's not the students. OF COURSE it's not the students. I had no idea people blamed all of the failures of the US education system on the kids. But the changes being discussed I think are wrong too. And I actually think MOST of it isn't the school system. I think it's the family and the culture of the US today. My great-grandparents didn't speak English when they came to the US but they had parents who motivated them to learn English, to not wait for something to be handed to them, to get a good education because it was the only way up - and then they wanted that for their kids. Now I see parents who TELL their kids education is important but don't put them to bed before midnight, don't get them to school on time, don't make them do their homework, don't encourage them to join extracurriculars, etc. etc. They think that the best way to get a job is to drop out of school ... to sing, to play ball, to rap, to sell drugs. The only well-off people they see are the dealers - so why get an education? Until THAT is changed, who cares what system we have?

    Whatever - regardless, it's a college. These aren't little kids - these are adults at Medgar Evers. It's a public city college that should be doing good things for the community. Shutting down programs that do GOOD should not be the priority. Sure - if they track the data and see that most people enrolled are getting 2-year degrees, I would assume they would cut back on the 4-year degrees and add more 2-year programs. But that shouldn't be a drastic thing, but a looking at the trends and adjusting to the needs of the students. My undergrad school added a lot of programs while I was there based on the needs/wants of incoming freshmen and students currently enrolled who wanted MA or MS degrees.

  • I found Homeowner's point to be quite persuasive. One of my kids is working towards a Masters degree at NYU at night while holding down a demanding full-time day job. She isn't exactly helping NYU's on-time graduation percentage.

    The city should have education options for working people to take courses when their work life - and their finances - permit, and failure to complete the curriculum in the standard four-year period at such facilities should not be considered failure by either the student or the institution.

  • Some of this also has to be placed in the context of how CUNY operates as a whole. CUNY has "flagship" schools like the main campus in Harlem, Baruch, Hunter, Brooklyn and then has a secondary level of 4 yr schools like Lehman, York, Queens, John Jay, etc. Under that there are the community colleges such as Kingsborough, BMCC, Hostos, Bronx, etc. Many of the secondary level 4 year schools have unique majors which attract students to them, but often they have students that want to go to the flagship schools but can't get in. Those students will take a spot at a school such as Medgar hoping to do really well for a year or two and then transfer to a Baruch or Hunter.

    This is how the system has operated for years, and its something that CUNY actively encourages (have you seen the subway and bus ads with star students in Associates, Bachelors, and advance degree programs alongside successful graduates?). So while there is a portion of Medgar students that come there planning to matriculate there, many may never enter the school with that purpose.

    As for the ATM situation, I'd bet that the issue is the divergent interests of the students and the administration. No doubt Citibank probably pays more to the school to have its ATM there. However, based upon my experiences as an undergraduate back before the millenium, I'd bet that they don't offer accounts which cater to students or low income persons (many, many, many moons ago they had a $500 minimum requirement to open a checking account). They also have a high ($3) ATM fee for non-Citibank customers. I'd hazzard a guess that the students probably had lower ATM fees from Carver and perhaps had access to no-fee checking or student accounts.

  • 'Race-race-race-race-race-race-race'

    Carver is a Black-owned bank. Citibank is a cyborg-owned bank.

    'Race-race-race-race-race-race.'

    (That's the sound of race cards hitting their mark in the upturned derby on the table; cue Mr. Met's response please.Camera two, when we segue' to Met, ensure that there is a bright light. We want to see everything.)

  • MHA, we actually all knew that already... (but we appreciate the theatricality of it all)...

  • This very same controversy happened at City College in Harlem about 15 years ago. What this marks is the encroach of the gentry and the real estate market.

  • MHA, could you elaborate? I don't know about the controversy at City College in Harlem. Also, how would a public entity like ME College or City College be responsive to a changing neighborhood demographic? Wouldn't they own their own land, and thus be immune to real estate concerns?

  • Odds are, in one way or another, like the landlords who rent out to the evil black on black crime inflaming gentrifiers, whoever owns the building was rightfully looking for tenants that could afford a competitive rent for the area. Just as I wasn't bent out of shape about getting priced out of Alma Realty buildings, I see no blood shed in Carver no longer being the tenant near ME. It's not a matter of race, as much as you'd like it to be MHA. It's a matter of money.

  • Krowonhill, what are the issues between ME and residents you mention in the original post?

  • "the evil black on black crime inflaming gentrifiers." Classic hyperbole CTK! When I start the revolution I will ensure to use this!

  • I learned from the best, lol.

  • dmiami, the original post copied directly from The Root made no mention of local residents. MHA raised the changing demographic in central Brooklyn as relevant to this discussion.

    Per MHA and CTK, now we are debating "is race relevant?" to the President's decisions. I think it's worth asking that question in a general sense as well: "is race relevant" to an academic institution? I suspect that the founders of ME thought that race was relevant to the school's mission. Perhaps the new President does not.

    The question of replacing the Carver ATMs could touch on this. For a student population that is primarily black (and a school with the mission to serve them), I could see how maintaining visible physical evidence of successful black Entrepreneurship in the form of the Carver ATMs could be important. If the President valued "racial" thinking, would he have made different choices as he attempted to align the school's finances with its budget?

  • ME has always struggled to maintain a reputation as something more than a Community college, even though it can grant 4 year degrees. I'm not sure why the president thinks he will be able to make it more. Maybe be the CUNY admin wants another reputable BS level school? Someone has to be cheering the president on.....

    CUNY is likely overflowing with qualified students as a result of the recession. As homeowner mentions, the adult students and tech majors may face increased pressure to do timeat the CCs before they are admitted to the 4 yr schools.

  • Quote from The Root: "a new school president who's battling with faculty, students and residents". Does anyone know what the writer is referring to with the mention of "battling residents"? Just curious because i've heard nothing but possitive things from people that have met with him.

  • A few of you have touched on some facts about MEC. The numbers don't that you quote don't tell the full story. 10% sounds dismal but when you look at all of the facts that are the cause of the 10%, you'd understand a little better. In addition, this administration has not done anything that would encourage an increase of the 10%. Before I get into the specifics of this administration, let me remind you that CUNY has cut remedial classes across the board at all colleges. That is a problem when students come to MEC or any other college unprepared because the public school system did not prepare them appropriately to succeed in college. But I digress...

    This administration has:

    Cut the writing lab ( what college doesn't have a writing lab?)

    Cut the library hours on the evenings and weekends

    cut Library staff

    closed the learning center

    stolen property from faculty members

    turned away money that would have benefited the whole college

    had security delivery letters of non reappointment to distinguished faculty members while they were teaching their classes

    Lied to the local,elected officials about resolving issues with Carver bank and the Center for Nuleadership

    Certainly, when faculty issues a vote of no confidence, this should warrant a second look. Had the faculty members of Brooklyn College, Hunter or Baruch issued a vote of no confidence of the administration, heads would be turning and CUNY administration would take notice. However, the administration of CUNY not only dismissed the vote, in writing they reiterated their utmost confidence in the MEC administration without a mere mention of the allegations the faculty charged this administration with. Those are the facts.

  • MEC was not the creation of a CUNY concerned with the education of students in African descendant Brooklyn. It was the creation of community action, both direct and political, by the African descendant community of Brooklyn, to force the university to address the needs of the African descendant and other communities of color in Brooklyn.

    The current administration is not CUNY's first effort to dismantle the college. Several decades ago, a president was appointed to downgrade the four-year college to an equal opportunity center. This effort failed in the face of community protest and political action.

    And the disrespectful, roll over, expansionist relationship between another CUNY institution, City College, and the neighboring community of Harlem helps clarify CUNY's overall disregard for communities of color.

    One need only look at the major expansion of new college facilities to know that it represents a valuable CUNY resource, a resource that CUNY has evidently decided is too valuable to continue to <span style="font-family: 'Arial','Lucida Grande',Verdana,Tahoma,Arial;">make</span> available to people of color.

    The solution; appoint an administration charged with dismantling the college so that its resources and plant can be put to the service of communities traditionally privileged by the university.

    And this is not just a fight for MEC. York College, Torro, and all those other CUNY institutions that have grown to target the educational needs of people of color are vulnerable to losing their plants to the privileging of other University priorities over and above the educational needs of people of color.

    What the college and university have failed to recon with is the power and resolve of Brooklyn's African descendant community. When our needs and our institutions are challenged, we mobilize and we fight. And more often than not, we win.

    It should also be noted that Carver Bank is a community bank with a long-standing history of being a major contributor to college events. It is hard to understand how cutting community ties and support aids the institution.

    For more information about the situation at MEC, contact

    Brendamgreene@gmail.com

    See also the coverage by

    Our Time Press
    and the commentary by blogger Kevin Powell.

  • I agree, it is a shame there are not more programs for people who are not ready to pursue a BA.

    I think the nearest community college is KBCC.

    http://www.kbcc.cuny.edu/sub-about/Pages/default.aspx

    And, as you mention, there are also EOCs around. They are often used to teach skills to folks who are not ready for community college. http://bkl.eoc.suny.edu/

    Medgar Evers seemed to occupy a space that was in the middle. I.E. It attempted to serve folks who weren't ready for college AT THE SAME TIME as it attempted to serve those who were ready. Neither group is easy to serve, but prior to this newest attempt at change, did MEC manage to serve either population well?

    I remember reading articles that it was about to lose accreditation as a BA level college. Did it get similar rebuke from the folks who audit and subsidize its non-degree programs?

    In this funding environment, you often have to be GOOD at something. ...being mediocre at a few things is a losing strategy. The new college president, with the support of CUNY Central, seems to have chosen a direction.

    ....I have mixed feelings about whether going the other route (that of an EOC or Community college) would have been a better choice.

  • "In this funding environment, you often have to be GOOD at something. ...being mediocre at a few things is a losing strategy." - whynot

    Sounds like the detractors to the new administration are saying that MEC is really good at "something": MEC is really good at meeting the needs of Brooklyn's community of color. Judging from the nationally-lauded success of the Center for Nu Leadership, it sounds like the school can claim they've done some great things with that mission.

    The problem that's been set out is that the school is not accomplishing the "something"s that the administrators of the CUNY system find valuable. With this context, the current administration's denial of an incoming $2.4 million grant to the Center for Nu Leadership does suddenly make sense.

  • Turning down funding is always a tough decision.

    I predict the funders will find another institution to accept their money, but probably not one that trains BA bound students.

    The Business school at Medgar Evers is reportedly among CUNY's best.

    -----------------------

    Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn has killed a controversial center run by ex-convicts after ruling it lacked research credentials and failed to show academic value to students, The Post has learned.

    The decision by the new administration at the City University campus to pull the plug on the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions comes a year after The Post reported the group got a $10,000 grant to study whether proposed state laws are racist.

    The center, run by ex-cons Eddie Ellis and Divine Pryor, touted itself as the first academic research center in the United States to be developed and run by ex-convicts seeking to influence public policy on "mass incarceration, mass unemployment, and mass disenfranchisement of black men and women," according to the college's Web site.

    But a probe by Medgar Evers President William Pollard and his academic team found that the felon-run center lacked academic rigor and did not belong at the college.

    College officials particularly resisted the center's $2.4 million grant proposal to bring hundreds of "nonviolent" drug offenders to campus, concluding that the college shouldn't be used as an alternative to punishment for criminals, sources said.

    Pryor said he will challenge the decision.

    "They don't have any grounds to get rid of us," he said.

    Pryor, who served 10 years for robbery and burglary, said the college rejected the center "because they have fear of people with criminal backgrounds being on campus" -- not because of academic deficiencies.

    carl.campanile@nypost.com

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/medgar_evers_college_con_job_shut_wPX9LuQ8FYcahBu8GgUazK#ixzz1AebgI2IV

  • More on the issues at MEC

    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.
    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 not supported the Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, despite awards and accolades from the College Board, the Department of Education, and President Barack Obama.
    8. 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.
    9. The administration has not announced a Master Plan or direction for MEC, after an entire year of governance.
  • ^^^^ Yuck, lots of college admin budget and management stuff.

    Although many of the above are unpopular, I suspect many of the actions (1- 9) are within the legal purview of a college president and the CUNY Central Administration.

    However, items 1 and 3 seem to be more serious:

    1. The administration has violated CUNY Bylaws, union contracts and the Medgar Evers Governance Plan in the non-reappointment of faculty.

    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.

    These actions seem like they would allow the affected to pursue remedies and appeals against the President and/or CUNY central. The private accreditation boards (like Middle States), NYS Board of Regents, and similar entities likely handle such disputes. I assume the faculty opposed to this administration are pursuing these routes. ....if the rules have been broken, I hope they win their case in a timely manner.

    ....colleges are weird in that they are set up to be far more "democratic" than most workplaces. Most of us can only dream of our bosses being subject to a complex set of bylaws that govern how they must manage us, and what items are in their purview re: what they can and can not cut.

  • I'm surprised that no one has heard Eddie Ellis on his show on WBAI. It's on on Saturdays 10:30 to noon. On the Count: The Prison & Criminal Justice Report. It claims to be the only radio show on the air produced and hosted entirely my former offenders.

    He's always struck me as a very insightful guy. I've heard him talk at length on the situation at MEC. It sounds like a hatchet job from on high.

  • I predict the ED of Osborne has already approached the NuLeadership's ex-funders.

    http://www.osborneny.org/

    ....but returning to the subject of Medgar Evers future:

    As evidenced by its investment in this new science building, CUNY Central has had plans to upgrade the college's academic stature for quite sometime:

    http://thebrooklynink.com/2010/10/28/17257-cuny-opens-new-brooklyn-science-building/

    Buildings don't get planned, approved and built over night.... Those who wanted the school to continue to offer remedial and community college type courses seem to be a few decades late in trying to stop the present changes.

  • There have been plans to improve the school for a while, and that includes not just the new science building, but the improvements to the business school. That I think is part of the issue is that the plans included bringing along those portions of the school that were less strong as well as continuing to be a school that catered to the community. Improving the chances for admitting stronger freshmen through the dual program with the high school (which would have meant that they would have a feeder program of true freshmen that would be on target to graduate in less than three years)would have done a lot for the school.

  • Yep, This sure sounds like CCNY in the mid to late 80's... On cue comes leadership that doesn't represent the interests of Black people, and their next step is to introduce new programs to the school that students who would never consider MEC will want to take. Suddenly you turn around, and a school predominantly Black and Brown becomes first increasingly Asian, and then increasingly whiter and whiter. Tuition increases, kicking predictably more Blackfolk out of the school. Meanwhile, the neighborhood changes. At the end of every month there is increasing more furniture oriented garbage on the streets, as people who have been living in their neighborhoods for years are subject to the ebb and flow of the market, and they are forced to leave their homes and seek fallow pastures. In their stead come the hipsters with their fixed-wheel bicycles,coffee cups and politically progressive facades. Suddenly there is talk of building a dorm building for those who want that option....

  • Because of decreased state and city support, tuition increases were going to happen regardless of whether CUNY improved MEC and its other campuses.

    ....but perhaps the increases wouldn't be as much as they will be now.

    Private colleges are becoming out of reach to more and more people, so CUNY may be making a concerted effort to help that segment of the population (aka the middle class) by upgrading its cadre of "mediocre" 4 year schools, such as MEC.

    The middle class will be able to pay for CUNY tuition even after the increase, but the low income "community folks" won't be able to.

    As government shrinks over the next few years, times are about to get a lot harder the middle class. ...but the poor are gonna be absolutely screwed.

    Some states have a steeply tiered tuition system, wherein the "open admission" Community Colleges are much cheaper than those that can grant BAs.

    Only the most qualified are able to get into a BA colleges year school as freshman, the rest must do time at a CC to prove their worthiness.

    In other words, CUNY may be improving its BA colleges not out of any malice toward the local community, but simply to financially survive. After all, without significant government subsidy, isn't everything subject to the ebbs and flows of the market?

  • That's the same rhetoric they used in the 80's...

  • The rhetoric (or "need" if you give it credence) allowed them to create the flagship CUNY's: CCNY, Brooklyn college, Baruch, Hunter.

    Isn't hard to imagine that professors wanting the "glory and stature" of teaching at a public college that is "as rigorous and good as a private college" exaggerate the fiscal issue in order to feel as good as their former classmates [you know, the ones who did slightly better in grad school and now teach on the leafy private college campuses].

    Afterall, don't we all simply tell the job interviewer what they want to hear?

    Surely some of them said "I'm committed to all NYC's adult students", when really they wanted to say "I want teach motivated, independent learners who are grad school bound".

    Their peers at SUNY do this too, of course.

    Homeowner - I agree, the denial of ongoing support to the qualified, motivated kids at the feeder school doesn't seem to make sense even in this framework. I can't figure out why you wouldn't want a group of 18 y/o local kids to up your success stats. Did the kids going to MEC Prep actually go to MEC? ....if they all actually ended up going elsewhere (i.e. Brooklyn College), then "abandoning" them it would make practical sense.

    ...sucks for the kids though.

  • why not there are aspects of your post that should be explored and even more intensely in schools that teach primarily unprepared students. Quality teachers do not want their resume to include schools that have a reputation for under achievement or publicly perceived failure. Super low graduation rates and transfer credits that are unequal from one institution to another are very dangerous for the students and faculty of a school . Alumni associations constantly churn email and letters to graduates raising money. 1 reason they need the cash is to maintain the reputation of the school in it's current form. A 30-year-old holding a diploma has his or her degree tarnished when the school they graduated from get publicity for lack of direction, poor achievement and low standards. MEC cannot become a location for people who want a community college experience but find the MEC campus easier to travel to. If most of the primary catalogues at ME are for 4 year degrees and a majority (90%) of the students are not starting and finishing at MEC with that goal. The institution's goal may need to be changed. The last thing any graduate needs as he or she goes into the workforce or continuing their education is for people to say "oh you went to that school that has a 10% graduation rate and has a huge ex prisoner student body". Nobody wants to live near,attend or teach at a school that has a rep as a halfway house or group rehab setting for excons..just a bad goal.4 year schools are not the place to teach people to read and write

  • Did the kids going to MEC Prep actually go to MEC? ....if they all actually ended up going elsewhere (i.e. Brooklyn College), then "abandoning" them it would make practical sense.

    Let me preface this by saying that all of my MEC Prep knowledge comes from discussions with a friend who was an administrator for the non-college bound group at MECP. The sense I got from discussions several years ago was that the portion of kids who were eligible for the dual program was small in the context of the overall school, but that they 1)were focused on graduation from high school with the associates degree at 18 and 2) that the thought always was that as kids continued to see their 4 year dreams impacted by cost, many would continue to matriculate at MEC where they already had relationships with faculty and involvement in degree programs. Not sure whether experience ever bore this out, but again, in this climate it seems that it would make sense to continue what has to be a relatively low cost program currently as a way to improve the quality of the student body.

    If most of the primary catalogues at ME are for 4 year degrees and a majority (90%) of the students are not starting and finishing at MEC with that goal. The institution's goal may need to be changed. The last thing any graduate needs as he or she goes into the workforce or continuing their education is for people to say "oh you went to that school that has a 10% graduation rate and has a huge ex prisoner student body". Nobody wants to live near,attend or teach at a school that has a rep as a halfway house or group rehab setting for excons..just a bad goal.4 year schools are not the place to teach people to read and write

    You keep saying that the students don't have intentions to complete a 4 year program, but I think that the reality is that they don't have the intention to complete a 4 year program in four years. This doesn't mean that this portion of the population is not prepared for school, doesn't take it seriously, or is in any other way lacking in ability, it just means that they are in need of another model. This is not a college full of 18-24 yr olds fresh out of high school and away from home for the first time. Its a school that educates working adults, people trying to educate themselves later on in life, and in many cases, people who are trying to earn a degree while also raising families. Those people should have access to higher education as well without needing to live in a post-high school ivory tower bubble. As for the ex-prisoner part, if someone decides at 27 or 28 that they want to become an adult, get a job, perhaps pursue a carrer why should they not be allowed to do so? I'd rather a former corner kid turn his hustling skills towards a carrer in marketing or finance rather than he continue to recruit 12-15 year olds in the ponzi scheme that is corner drug sales.

  • catwalker wrote: If most of the primary catalogues at ME are for 4 year degrees and a majority (90%) of the students are not starting and finishing at MEC with that goal. The institution's goal may need to be changed. The last thing any graduate needs as he or she goes into the workforce or continuing their education is for people to say "oh you went to that school that has a 10% graduation rate and has a huge ex prisoner student body". Nobody wants to live near,attend or teach at a school that has a rep as a halfway house or group rehab setting for excons..just a bad goal.4 year schools are not the place to teach people to read and write

    homeowner wrote: You keep saying that the students don't have intentions to complete a 4 year program, but I think that the reality is that they don't have the intention to complete a 4 year program in four years. This doesn't mean that this portion of the population is not prepared for school, doesn't take it seriously, or is in any other way lacking in ability, it just means that they are in need of another model. This is not a college full of 18-24 yr olds fresh out of high school and away from home for the first time. Its a school that educates working adults, people trying to educate themselves later on in life, and in many cases, people who are trying to earn a degree while also raising families. Those people should have access to higher education as well without needing to live in a post-high school ivory tower bubble. As for the ex-prisoner part, if someone decides at 27 or 28 that they want to become an adult, get a job, perhaps pursue a carrer why should they not be allowed to do so? I'd rather a former corner kid turn his hustling skills towards a carrer in marketing or finance rather than he continue to recruit 12-15 year olds in the ponzi scheme that is corner drug sales.

    Yes, I think the idea of a 4 year BS college program is too unrealistic for a non-residential college (whether it is "urban" or not). ...whether they are 18 - 22 years old or not.

    I'd be fine with creating a school for BS bound adults. ...and, being 40 something, would certainly hate to take a classes at a school that is almost exclusively 18 - 22 years olds.

    If -for a moment- we can ignore the financial factors, CUNY admin seems to be positing this as choice:

    Motivated BS bound adults

    vs

    People who are trying to get a foothold in legal society

    I think the question becomes how much can you serve both? Clearly one does not need to go to the extremes of Columbia to give students a "proper college environment", but the does the environment at MEC cause the motivated students to simply transfer to a better school once they get enough credits?

    (I don't know the answer to either question)

    ....but if MEC is simply a place one transfers from, and then leaves off their resume, it acting largely as a Community College.

    This seems like a group professors is being told "those students are not ready for college, and we won't let you continue to try to help them because we want this college for BS students", which wouldn't suck if those other students had a place to go.

    As I said above, I'd love to see an expansion of the the CC and EOP systems.

    ....I'll add Job Corps and VISTA to the list

    Without an expansion of these programs, these students will be forced to gamble on the for profit tech institutes: ITT, DeVry, School of Broadcasting, HHA training, etc. ....they are very expensive, drown their students in debt and provide training that rarely results in jobs.

    To me, it is clear that the economic forces and the "status forces" (as discussed by catwalker and I) are going to to push more of the motivated (but poor) students into considering these schools.

  • 10% graduation rate?

    Is there possibly a remote correlation between this and an economy which lacks financial resources and remunerative jobs? As the economy declines there are fewer scholarships and support from non profit institutions. I would venture to guess this has impacted in some way to that unfortunate 10% rate. Moreover, I would also venture to guess that if the economy improved, schools like ME would have at its disposal considerably more resources to assist needy students. This would likely impact that graduation rate in a positive way.

  • On cue comes leadership that doesn't represent the interests of Black people, and their next step is to introduce new programs to the school that students who would never consider MEC will want to take. Suddenly you turn around, and a school predominantly Black and Brown becomes first increasingly Asian, and then increasingly whiter and whiter. Tuition increases, kicking predictably more Blackfolk out of the school. Meanwhile, the neighborhood changes. At the end of every month there is increasing more furniture oriented garbage on the streets, as people who have been living in their neighborhoods for years are subject to the ebb and flow of the market, and they are forced to leave their homes and seek fallow pastures. In their stead come the hipsters with their fixed-wheel bicycles,coffee cups and politically progressive facades. Suddenly there is talk of building a dorm building for those who want that option....

    exhibit #104

  • R.I.F. (reading is fundamental) still applies. Had the new administration at MEC bothered to read the governance plan for MEC approved by CUNY, they would not be involved in the middle of a lawsuit in State Supreme Court, or have more union grievances right now that all of the other CUNY schools combined. Please read the following article and maybe you will understand. Some of the comments on this blog is mind boggling. This is what happens to institutions with gentrification....

    And, no doubt, Medgar Evers must be tossing and turning in his grave at Arlington National Cemetery this very moment. For how terrible is it that a college named in his honor is in the midst of the ugliest chapter of its long history, a history born of the sweat, and the blood, of the Civil Rights Movement?

    The problem, to put it mildly, are the president and the provost of Medgar Evers College, two Black men who, by virtue of one baffling action after another, demonstrate no respect for the mission of a school built in the heart of Black Brooklyn, and who ostensibly have little to no respect for faculty and staff, nor the community that surrounds that institution. That their behavior and mindset are akin to the Southern White segregationists of the Civil Rights era who went out of their way to block, literally and symbolically, the doors of their schools rather than allow Black students in, must be something the president and provost have conveniently forgotten. That the leadership of the City University of New York, which governs all 23 of the four- and two-year schools in its system, has allowed this now very public spectacle to fester and rot begs this question: Who really cares about the mission and future of Medgar Evers College?

    I mean, seriously, would this blog and the protests and pending lawsuits be necessary if we were discussing, say, John Jay College, Lehman College, or Medgar’s borough cousin, Brooklyn College?

    No—

    However, we are talking about Medgar Evers College, though not technically an historically Black college in fact, but certainly so in its creation, sense of purpose, and the overwhelming numbers in terms of faculty, staff, and students. Indeed, for those who do not know, Medgar Evers College is a four-year commuter school of 7000 students nestled in what we call Central Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not only the largest of New York City’s five boroughs (with 2.5-3 million residents we would be America’s 4th most populated “city”), but Brooklyn also contains the biggest Black population in our nation (nearly 1 million people of African descent from across America, and the globe).

    And the original mission of Medgar Evers College, as stated currently on its website at http://www.mec.cuny.edu/presidents_office/mec_mission.asp, was “a result of collaborative efforts by community leaders, elected officials, the Chancellor, and the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York. The College, named for the late civil rights leader, Medgar Wiley Evers (1925-1963), was established in 1969 and named in 1970, with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. The College is committed to the fulfillment of this mandate.”

    Obviously someone didn’t mention this bit of history and purpose to President William Pollard or Provost Howard Johnson. Or perhaps the duo has simply not bothered to read the website during their tenure. Because in my 20 years of living in Brooklyn, and an extensive association with that school—as a community and political leader; as a writer and artist; as someone who has given numerous lectures there, and participated in more panels, conferences, and seminars than I can count, there; and as an ally and supporter with my own critiques of Medgar Evers College—never could I have imagined, when these two took over the leadership in August of 2009, such a swift and abrupt deterioration of the way the school is administered.

    Immediate past president Dr. Edison O. Jackson definitely was no perfect leader, either, but you at least got the sense he genuinely loved the school and the community about the school. Conversely, at a chance encounter with President Pollard the summer of 2010, I came away thinking the man not only did not like Brooklyn (it took everything in me not to suggest he should leave if he despised it, and us Brooklynites, so much), but that Mr. Pollard was eager to do whatever he could to dismantle the inner mechanisms of Medgar Evers College, even the parts that were working just fine. It is one thing, as a leader, to put your own stamp on an enterprise you are now running, as every leader should have her or his vision on how things should be. It is quite another to give the appearance of destroying that enterprise entirely, with reckless abandon, just because you can—

    Yet I am not even sure if “incompetent” is the right word to describe what is happening here. But it is abundantly clear to me, when one reviews the backgrounds of President Pollard and Provost Johnson prior to their coming to Medgar Evers College, that whoever thought these two gentlemen deserved to run a major institution for higher learning must not have seen any of the numerous articles critical of their prior escapades.

    In Mr. Pollard’s case, we are talking allegations of the gross mismanagement of millions of dollars at his previous job as president of the University of the District of Columbia:

    http://image2.examiner.com/a-1072664~UDC_chief_details_waste_of_millions.html

    In Mr. Johnson’s case, we are talking allegations of the plagiarizing of an academic plan from Syracuse University, where he formerly worked, and which he gave to his new employer, the University of North Texas:

    http://www.dailyorange.com/2.8654/plagiarism-by-administrator-unacceptable-1.1241774

    So is it little wonder that since the arrival of Mr. Pollard and Mr. Johnson in August 2009 we have the present mess at Medgar Evers College, including:

    1) Some very curious faculty dismissals

    2) Threats of shutting down academic centers on the campus

    3) Faculty concerns about the administration’s lack of respect for shared governance (in the past month 66 faculty members (89% of those who voted), mostly tenured, cast a vote of “no confidence” in the president and the provost)

    4) No strategic plan by the president or the provost, after one year on their jobs, on the future of Medgar Evers College

    5) The Provost eliminated the Writing Center and the Center for Teaching and Learning (what college does not have a Writing Center?)

    6) The Administration removed Carver Bank ATMs (Carver is the largest Black-owned bank in America) and replaced them with Citibank ATMs

    7) The Administration issued an eviction notice for The Center for NuLeadership; and although the proposal for formal approval of the Center under CUNY guidelines was approved before the current administration came into power, the President and Provost have refused to forward the proposal to CUNY

    For a full accounting of faculty, staff, and community concerns, please check this excellent blog: http://eisaulen.com/blog///index.php/2011/01/02/interview-is-medgar-evers-college-under-attack-faculty-battle-provost-and-president

    And there are many more issues, but the one that sticks out to me is the apparent attack by the Medgar Evers College administration on the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions. As was stated in a recent press release, the Center for NuLeadership “is the first and only public policy, research, training, advocacy and academic center housed in the largest urban university system in the United States, conceived, designed, and developed by formerly incarcerated professionals.”

    In other words, these are not just “ex-cons” running wild at Medgar Evers College. These are individuals like Dr. Divine Pryor, formerly incarcerated person, who has turned his life around and become a valuable asset to community and academia. And I can honestly say, in my travels throughout America, to literally hundreds upon hundreds of colleges and universities, community centers and religious institutions, and jails and prisons of every kind, that I have never encountered someone who is as articulate, dynamic, and passionate in identifying ways to stop the school-to-prison pipeline so real for American ghettos as Dr. Pryor.

    And if Medgar Evers College was founded with the expressed purpose of meeting “the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community,” then does it not make sense to house a center that deals directly with the record numbers of Black (and Latino) males being shipped off to jail each and every year, in Brooklyn, and all the Brooklyns in America?

    Not by the logic of President Pollard and Provost Johnson. Perhaps that is why these two Black males, along with CUNY central administration officials, saw nothing wrong with a December 17, 2010 late-night “raid” of NuLeadership’s offices, and the seizure of computers personally owned by Dr. Pryor and his colleague Kate Kyung Ji Rhee.

    Or why the Center for NuLeadership was asked to vacate its offices by December 30th (the center had to go to court to block the eviction, temporarily).

    Or why the president and the provost have refused to forward the recommendation by the college’s governing body to establish, officially, the center at Medgar Evers College.

    Or why the president and the provost have blocked the Center for NuLeadership’s funds, and refused to approve a $2.4 million grant that would have given first-time non-violent offenders a second chance by sentencing them to college rather than prison.

    The great sadness and irony of these two Black male administrators doing this at a college born to better the most underserved parts of Brooklyn is not lost on me. Doubly sad and ironic that we have a president of the United States (Barack Obama) and a Secretary of Education (Arne Duncan) who have consistently called for innovative solutions to prepare and propel the most marginalized populations in America.

    And sad and ironic, furthermore, because the City University of New York actually has a system-wide Black male initiative. But how can we seriously discuss any initiatives for Black males and not include in that conversation ideas and best practices to cease the rapid flow of Black (and Latino) men in and out of the criminal justice system?

    So as we approach the annual Dr. King holiday in less than two weeks, the president and provost of Medgar Evers College and the City University of New York hierarchy find themselves with a major dilemma, bad publicity, and unnecessary and very preventable beefs, in and out of court, with Medgar Evers faculty and staff, and Brooklyn community members. As one tenured professor at Medgar Evers College said to me in an email, what is happening at the school “should be a national outrage.”

    For sure, the mess at Medgar Evers College is a national outrage, and a deeply moral failing, too, especially at a time in our history when America’s inner cities require, need, demand, nonstop and pro-active solutions and remedies, and as many opportunities as possible for our communities, particularly for the young and the poor.

    And wasn’t that the point of Medgar Evers College in the first place, to serve the people?

    http://thebuzzcincy.com/national/1230amwdbz2/the-mess-at-medgar-evers-college/

  • MEC seems to have done really poorly on their last BA/BS level accreditation survey.

    Needless to say, long time opponents of the leadership hope that the president will be be replaced soon...

    http://ourtimepress.com/2013/01/11/how-much-longer-will-president-pollard-lead-medgar-evers-college/

  • April 24, 2013:

    The fight for control, who gets to define the mission of the college, and "how" it should be run continues:

    For Immediate Release

    Contact:

    Evangeline Byars: 917.932.6756

    Jamel Nicholas: 718.451.6828

    Tomorrow, Medgar Evers College students and community walkout to demand an interim president after forcing former President to resign for mishandling college.

    At noon on April 24th the students of Medgar Evers College will hold a walkout to demand an interim president, months after President William Pollard resigned due to lack of campus support over his mishandling of campus funds and leaving the college at the threat of losing it’s accreditation. The Students are also angered over the move by the resigning Chancellor Matthew Goldstein to undo the Governance Plan of Medgar Evers College.

    Students are angry that the decision to find a new president is being prolonged and the June deadline is being dragged out so that the chancellor can continue to undo the years of progress that has been attained at Medgar Evers College. The proposed Interim Governance Plan aims to decrease the number of student representatives from 23 to 4. Under the proposed interim governance plan, which is unprecedented, CUNY wants to reduce student representation by 87.5%. “The students are outraged by this move on behalf of the Chancellor, as the chancellor has announced plans to step down at the same time this is all happening, holding himself unaccountable to the decisions that he is making ,that will have long lasting effects on the college community.” said Evangeline Byars, lead student organizer at Concerned Students of Medgar Evers College. Chancellor Goldstein is set to step down as of July 2013. The students of Medgar Evers College, are resisting the actions from the office of the chancellor to try to destroy the governance plan of the civil rights institution.“This is a blatant attack on the Spirit and legacy of the late great Medgar Wiley Evers and As we approach the 50th anniversary of his death, it’s even more important now to continue the struggle for education that is not only accessible, but provides an education that is representative of the students backgrounds” said Biola Jeje, New York Students Rising.Medgar Evers College was founded with the help of local community leaders and elected officials of Central Brooklyn. The students of Medgar Evers College see this as an attack by the Chancellor on the only predominantly black institution within the City University of New York.The students of Medgar Evers College, believe that is clear institutional racism and that the chancellor is trying to undo the results of the 1969 City College Occupation that forced CUNY to integrate.In that very spirit, student are set to walk out at noon in front of 1650 Bedford Avenue at Crown Street.

  • A less heard from, less loud coalition has been formed:

    One with a thoughtout strategy.

    Note the contrasts between what they espouse, and that of a "near failing" four year college with a large % of its resources devoted to college prep programs....

    Members who have a vision....

    Note that there is presently over 1000 members.

    Members who have powerful positions within society....

    Members who want to give present and future students the same opportunities they had to succeed, yet want to make sure that the school continues to focus on black students....

    Members who have a thoughtout plan to simultaneously insulate themselves from criticisms that they want to make ME "just another 4 year CUNY", WHILE upgrading its rigor and standing....

    Members who can not easily be dismissed as wanting to maintain the present status quo of the school, or "afraid of change and challenge"...

    Members who have shown they can effectively influence people and institutions....

    Members who do not want "historically black college" to be equated with remedial.

    I wish them success. They are the best chance ME and its students have had in over a decade.

  • A new president has been chosen. Longtime New Yorkers remember him as the former Schools Chancellor, Dr. Rudy Crew.

    photo: wweek.com

    Here's an article by the NYT, and link to lots of press on this story:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/education/new-leader-is-named-for-medgar-evers-college.html

    https://www.google.com/#output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=rudy+crew+medgar+evers+college&oq=rudy+crew+&gs_l=hp.1.2.0l4.2062.3672.0.6394.10.8.0.1.1.0.660.2205.0j3j2j2j0j1.8.0...0.0...1c.1.17.psy-ab.lVxKzQVU6V8&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48293060,d.dmg&fp=5ad968f626cd92dd&biw=1366&bih=571

    Hopefully he will be able to end the squabbling and set a clear direction.

    ...expect some high profile firing and hiring at the college before Sept 2013!

  • ....expect Rudy Crew to reference the long struggle, and state "my direction for this college is part of this struggle. I am aware of the struggle. I ask you to fight it with me"

    said struggle:

    http://www.restorationplaza.org/calendar/couragetheblacknewyork13

  • ....expect Rudy Crew to reference the long struggle, and state "my direction for this college is part of this struggle. I am aware of the struggle. I ask you to fight it with me"

    said struggle:

    http://www.restorationplaza.org/calendar/couragetheblacknewyork13

This discussion has been closed.