More info on Morris Brown from press release on their web site : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

MORRIS BROWN COLLEGE APPEAL DENIED Board Says Next Step is Re-Accreditation

Atlanta, GA—The Morris Brown College Board of Trustees today announced that the College’s April 2, 2003, appeal for membership has been denied by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The Review Committee took four business days to return its decision.

“We are clearly disappointed by the ruling,” said Sixth District African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Frank C. Cummings, Chairman, Morris Brown College Board of Trustees, “but Morris Brown will survive.” Bishop Cummings said the Board will meet soon, and that the College has begun the process of communicating the SACS decision to stakeholders and supporters. Only one institution has successfully appealed a SACS decision in recent years.

The closed-door appeal hearing before a panel of 9 college presidents was held last Wednesday at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Former United Nations Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young made an impassioned appeal to the Review Committee on behalf of the College.

“Morris Brown offers a strong academic program, a holistic experience and opportunities for many students who are underserved by other institutions,” said Ambassador Young. “Morris Brown’s admission policy considers test scores, character and individual potential. We all need Morris Brown College.”

In December 2002 SACS voted to rescind Morris Brown’s association membership, effectively ending accreditation -- contingent upon the appeal. In response, Morris Brown has raised more than half of the $10 million short-term debt that it owes, has maintained current notes on the long-term debt, and has restructured the Board to recruit business and corporate leaders including two bank presidents. Many internal protocols have been improved and systems of accountability are being reviewed and strengthened.

Under SACS rules Morris Brown could only present information at the hearing, which illustrated why SACS’ decision to revoke the College’s membership was inappropriate. New information, such as fundraising updates and college progress reports, was not considered.

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003


*This is the continuation of the above press release.

SACS rules cite two situations as grounds for appeal: 1) …wherein the Commission failed to follow its procedures and this failure was significant in leading to the decision, and 2) if the Commission’s decision was arbitrary, unreasonable, and not based on, or consistent with the criteria or policies of the Commission. The appellate process further stipulates that the institution bears the burden of proof.

The Morris Brown appeals team included Bishop Cummings, Ambassador Young, President Taylor; Milton Jones, president, Bank of America- Georgia; Atty. Belinda Edwards, Morris Brown General Counsel; Michael Goldstein, Special Counsel; and Charles Riepenhoff, partner, KPMG.

“This decision will have a tremendous impact on Morris Brown but the College has weathered very difficult times before,” said President Taylor. “With the help of a lot of people, we have made great progress. We will continue to improve, we will continue to raise funds, we will continue to meet the needs of our students and all standards for accreditation as we engage the process for re- accreditation.”

Morris Brown College, a four-year undergraduate institution, is among the top schools for awarding Legal Studies and Mathematics degrees to African Americans. Founded in 1881, Morris Brown is the only college in Georgia founded by, and for, Blacks.

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2003

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