Great moments in higher ed litigation

by Walter Olson on June 22, 2011

NPR “Marketplace” via James Taranto:

AMY SCOTT: The lawsuit began after Towson University started offering an MBA — a degree students could already get a short drive away at historically Black Morgan State University. Attorney Michael Jones represents the coalition suing the state. He says federal law prohibits states from starting new programs that are already established at a nearby Historically Black College or University, or HBCU.

MICHAEL JONES: Once these programs were duplicated elsewhere, it affected the abilities of the HBCUs to be competitive in terms of attracting students regardless of race.

{ 7 comments }

1 E-Bell 06.22.11 at 10:31 am

I don’t get it.

Is the greater goal here to maintain segregated colleges? I thought “diversity” in our educational institutions was a good thing.

2 Bob Lipton 06.22.11 at 10:53 am

Diversity is measured by the number of non-Caucasian students. If a college’s student body is 100% Black, it’s considered by be very diverse.

Bob

3 L 06.22.11 at 1:23 pm

E-Bell and Bob: read up on the facts before making such comments — you got things exactly backwards. Being mostly black, these college measure “diversity” as the proportion of white students — the Historically Black Colleges are actually arguing that the state is draining their white students away, which hurts their diversity.

It seems that Maryland is allowing a nearby “white” college to offer a program (MBA) that was previously unique to the “black” college. Morgan State U argues that federal law requires the state to give it a local monopoly at least on some kinds of programs, in order to force white students to go to Morgan State instead of the other local alternative (Towson U).

4 mojo 06.22.11 at 1:38 pm

That old devil “choice”, of course, cannot be left to the peons.

5 mike 06.23.11 at 1:07 pm

L,
I don’t think there is such a thing as a white college. I’m sure I would have ended up on their mailing list after my last donation to UNCF (God knows, I ended up on everybody else’s).

Hard to imagine why anyone would want their kid to go to a school, teaching by example, that enforceable monopoly of a common product is a good thing.

6 Jesse Spurway 06.24.11 at 10:17 am

I don’t know how close the 2 colleges are, but it doesn’t make money sense to have 2 programs, for the same degree, at adjacent state schools.
On the other hand, I don’t pay taxes in MD so….

7 gitarcarver 06.24.11 at 12:44 pm

Jesse,

The schools are about 6 miles apart or about 20 minutes driving.

They are also worlds apart in the area in which they are located. The area surrounding Morgan is part of the urban blight that Baltimore is suffering. Towson, on the other hand, is just north of the city and in a better, less crime ridden area.

There is also a difference in the schools. As long as I can remember, Morgan has stayed “Morgan State University.” (I think they upgraded from a “college” in the early 70′s but I am not sure.)

Towson, on the other hand, was “Towson State Teacher’s College,” then, “Towson State College,” and now just “Towson University.” They have gone from being the “little sister” of the Baltimore area colleges to be the big dog with great diversity in both curriculum and enrollment.

Towson passed Morgan because they became a better school and any law that restricts a school from offering more to the people is wrong.

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