Tom Joyner & Morris Brown College : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Driving to my office this morning I listened to Tom Joyner's interview with Bishop McKenzie. Mr. Joyner reiterated his interest in purchasing Morris Brown from the AMEC for $1 million. He indicated that a similar offer was turned down last year and he sought McKenzie's support for the latest proposal. While she skillfully turned down Tom's public offer she did grant him a chance to discuss the matter in greater detail at a futre meeting. So, should the AMEC accept Tom's intriguing offer? QED

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2004



Bill i heard the same comments from Bishop Mckenzie. What is the current status of Morris Brown? Has the church developed and publiished a plan for the recovery of this great school and meaningfull part of her history? Where does the bench of Bishops stand on this issue?

Pastor Wade

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2004

Maybe $10 - $25 million, but $1 million. But then, I'd rather sell it for $1 million to someone who may try to resurrect the school, than let it close. How much does the school need to stay open? How many members are there reported in the AME church? Over 1 million? Why can't we send in our tens and twenties and collectively keep this school open? I am confused. Sounds like we need to call Rev. Flake.

God bless.


-- Anonymous, November 30, 2004


As an A.M.E and an alumnus of Morris Brown, I personally don't ever see the possibility of this happening. Both the A.M.E. Church and the alumni are working hard to save Morris Brown.

The college has been restructured. Enrollment is up this year and growing from fewer then 70 last year to just under 200 this year.

One of the former Presidents who is A.M.E, Dr. Samuel Jolley, has returned to guarantee that programs are successfully executed for the college's success. It is projected and almost certain that reaccredidation will be granted in 2007--a little over 2 years from now.

In August the Board of Trustees elected it first corporate chair, Mr. James E. Young, President and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank. Bishop DeVeaux was also elected as Vice Chair and noted architect, Mr. William J, Stanley, III of Stanley-Love-Stanley was elected as Secretary of the Board. The Coca-Cola Foundation made a grant to the school for planning and initiatives, tuition was reduced to the current market price, 20 fulltime and 7 part-time faculty members were hired—90% of them holding doctorate degrees in their field of expertise.

For those who are familiar with the history of Morris Brown, this is not the first crisis, which we have successfully met. The first was when the school held University status, but became nearly bankrupt because the member schools were unable to do what was required of them. At that time every pastor, member and student in Georgia collected Octagon Soap wrappers, sold dinners and did whatever else they needed to do in order for the school to survive.

This time whatever it takes we will do the same. The Alumni Association, The Sixth Episcopal District and the A.M.E. Church are committed to it. Morris Brown College is here and here to stay.

Morris Brown College is the only school of higher learning in the entire state of Georgia founded by African Americans for the education of students who were predominantly black. It is also the only A.M.E. School founded by an individual congregation of persons who happened to also be A.M.E.---namely, the pastor and members of Big Bethel A.M.E. Church. I don't ever see the possibility of Morris Brown College being anything but A.M.E. Despite the present crisis it is still one of the denomination's flagshop schools. This again will become evident when we are fully up and runnig again.

Finally, let me say that I am personally offended that Tom Joyner would play us cheap. Even if the school were for sale, which it is not, One Million Dollars is a ridiculously cheap offer to make for a school with a history and legacy such as that of Morris Brown.

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2004

Brother Matthews:

I appreciate the history of Morris Brown, and I do agree with you, that despite Tom Joyner's best of intentions, as I stated in a previous post, $1 million dollars is a tad bit low to try to buy a school. For that matter, one dormitory would cost over $1 million dollars. I am just trying to figure out why was Joyner having that conversation with Bishop McKenzie in the first place. And, secondly, why is Morris Brown facing this crisis for the second time, particularly since so many members of the AME church have so many resources. I am just a little bit perplexed as to where the money is going/what is happening. Also, I am glad that Morris Brown is guaranteed to be accredited by 2007; however, the lack of accreditation in the meantime is going to harm those students that graduate between now and 2007--not help them.

God Bless.


-- Anonymous, December 01, 2004

Sister Jackson,

Since Bishop Mckenzie is presently the Council of Bishops’ President, in most instances she will be the person to whom other look for answers to questions concerning the A.M.E. Church. She, by and large will be the spokesperson for the entire church.

As to your second question, while the debt of Morris Brown is being consistently paid and there has been a considerable reduction in it, the last I heard was that the interest on the debt alone was somewhere in the vicinity of $1,000,000,000. Thus we must make considerably payments and renegotiate the debt in order to make a sizable reduction in it.

The General Budget Fund of the A.M.E. Church is ridiculously low. Both Bill and I proposed legislation for changing it. However some of the powers that be failed to realize the immediate necessity making such a change. So our proposed legislation was throw out in committee before ever reaching the General Conference floor--- needless to say that ministries, programs and schools will suffer and go lacking at least another four years because of it.

Finally, it has been my experience that if one is not applying for a job in an academic, educational or similar field, no one ever asks if the school one finished was or was not accredited. They simply ask the number of years and grade/academic level one has successfully completed in school. In many instances the job opportunities and salaries of the present student body at Morris Brown will be considerably greater than that of persons like myself who spent over half our lives and financial resources attending accredited schools. The students who enrolled have also realized that this is true.

The present staff at Morris College realized this as well. As a result the administration has limited the college’s present curriculum, offerings and majors to those areas that are most unlikely to be hurt by the college being unaccredited.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2004

Please do not take what I'm about to say the wrong way. But, as many of you know by now, I am who I am. I've known Bishop McKenzie a long time (dating back to the 70s when she was a gospel DJ in D.C.) and I'm happy for her accomplishments. She's a talented preacher, teacher, orator and manager (doesn't hurt she's attractive too but I digress). I'm simply amazed at the disproportionate media cover she commands. Last night driving home I heard her on Tavis Smiley's NPR program. She will be featured again tonight. She is indeed a media darling and offers great insight. What puzzles me is why other AME Bishops appear not to command equal media attention. For example, take this topic about Morris Brown College. If Tom Joyner desires a serious discussion about Morris Brown College he should be initiating contacts with Bishop John Bryant (Chairman of the Board for ITC), Bishop William P. Deveaux (Presiding Prelate of the 6th) and Bishop A.J. Richardson (Chairman of the AME Commission on Higher Ed). I will go so far as to say that these gentlemen also happen to represent the intellectual backbone of the Bench. Yes, Bishop McKenzie is the President of the Bishop's Council but she is hardly the subject matter expert like Richardson and Bryant. Why can't these brothers get some air time as well? I'm not hatin' on the sister. I just would like to see the pie shared a bit more equally. QED

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2004

Brother Dickens, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2004

Hello my fellow internet church family!!!

What we need to do is to send our financial donations to Morris Brown College at this time. I am not an alumnus of Morris Brown College but I have sent my second annual donation to this school. Secondly, we need to send our financial donation to this site to keep it going. I also intend to send my donation to this site before the year is completed. Let's puts some action with our words.

-- Anonymous, December 02, 2004

More troubling news about Morris Brown College from today's edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. See the article below. QED

Federal Indictment Accuses Former Morris Brown President and Aid Officer of $5-Million Fraud

By PAUL FAIN Chronicle of Higher Education December 10, 2004

A former president and former financial-aid director of Morris Brown College, in Atlanta, are accused in an indictment announced on Thursday of obtaining $5-million in federal funds through fraudulent means while at the college.

Federal prosecutors said Dolores E. Cross, 68, who was Morris Brown's president from November 1998 until February 2002, increased spending at the college by $8.5-million during her first year on the job. To help pay for the spending spree, which included 50 business and personal trips that she and her family and friends took, Ms. Cross and Parvesh Singh, 62, then the college's financial-aid director, used false pretenses to secure $5-million in grant funds and student loans, the indictment says.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Singh obtained more than 1,800 loans and Pell grants for ineligible students, many of whom had never attended or were no longer at Morris Brown, totaling $3.4-million. Mr. Singh also requested and was awarded $2-million in institutional grants for which Morris Brown was not eligible, according to the indictment. Ms. Cross then allegedly used the grant funds to pay off debt incurred by the spending increases.

"Hundreds of students were victims of the defendants' alleged fraud," the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, David E. Nahmias, said in a news release. Many of the illegal loans later hurt students' ability to secure financial aid at other schools, he said.

Nearly 90 percent of Morris Brown's students received federal aid during Ms. Cross's tenure, and the college relied on that aid for about 70 percent of its revenue. Ms. Cross resigned in February 2002 amidst questions about her financial dealings. Mr. Singh was later fired by her successor, Charles E. Taylor.

In December 2002, the Southern As-sociation of Colleges and Schools revoked the college's accreditation, citing its $27-million debt. Morris Brown lost an appeal to retain its accreditation a few months later, and its enrollment dipped to 72 students -- down from 2,700 students in 2002.

Mr. Nahmias said the current staff and administration of Morris Brown have been "tremendously cooperative" during the investigation. He also said Ms. Cross had concealed the alleged fraud from the college's Board of Trustees.

Neither Ms. Cross nor Mr. Singh was available for comment on the indictment, which charges both of them with 34 counts.

-- Anonymous, December 10, 2004

We are sometimes our own worst enemy! To paraphrase the famous saying from the comic strip 'Pogo': "We have met the enemy...and it is us!"

-- Anonymous, December 10, 2004

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