An HBCU Is Accusing Neighboring PWI Of Duplicating Its Doctoral Program, Urges An Intervention By Lawmakers
As the old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
Morgan State University President David K. Wilson is accusing Towson University of duplicating a business doctoral program that has already been well-established at Morgan State.
According to Maryland Matters, the issue has incited an argument in Maryland regarding white institutions allegedly duplicating educational programs that have already been structured at historically Black colleges and universities. In a letter obtained by the outlet, Wilson said Towson’s program parallels Morgan State’s doctoral business administration program. In a 4-3 vote, Maryland’s Higher Education Commission (MHEC) ruled in favor of Towson moving forward with a doctoral program.
“It seems to me that the bill that legislatively settled the long-running HBCU lawsuit in 2021 explicitly required that a process be established to prohibit unnecessary program duplication going forward,” Wilson wrote to the lawmakers. “It was my understanding that until such processes and procedures were put in place, no action would be taken by MHEC that would harm the state’s HBCUs.”
In a letter addressed to two educational policy lawmakers, Wilson petitioned for help. The letter stated the MHEC’s verdict was contrary to a previous 14-year-old settlement of $577 million that determined the state of Maryland permitted an allotment of more resources to predominantly white institutions, which allowed these establishments to imitate programs from four HBCUs: Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
“The decision is based upon the determination…that Towson’s proposed program is not unreasonably duplicative of Morgan’s Ph.D. in Business Administration generally or of the concentration in Supply Chain and Logistics Management,” Chair Mary Pat Seurkamp wrote in a June 28, 2023 letter to Melanie Perreault. “The majority found that while some elements of the programs were similar, ultimately, the two programs have distinct differences in their curricula. This finding was made with the understanding that Towson’s admission criteria for the program are geared toward students who have a STEM background. Furthermore, we found that there was insufficient evidence of demonstrable harm to the existing program at Morgan.”
Wilson is challenging lawmakers to examine the Higher Education Commission’s review process in hopes that a plan will be implemented to diminish duplicated programs.