Response to the Amsterdam News, "What is really happening at Medgar Evers College?"

4/12/2011, 4:44 p.m.

To the Editor:

We, the founders, the faculty and the students of Medgar Evers College, the clergy and members of the Central Brooklyn community read the editorial by Elinor Tatum in the December 23 issue and are moved to fervently answer the question and express our concern on the truth of "What is really happening at Medgar Evers College?" It is a situation where the leadership of an important institution is certainly not "what we were waiting for." We have academic leaders who profess to promote standards, but who have no understanding of either the strategies for promoting standards or of the mission of institutions that are committed to access, opportunity and excellence. Our educators and staff have always maintained standards while acknowledging both the academic and social needs of our students. One needs only to consult our alumni who are currently working as doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, scientists, computer scientists, public officials, writers, editors, journalists, etc. to affirm our success.

"What is really happening at Medgar Evers College" is that under the current leadership, student instructional support services in areas such as the writing center, learning center and library have been reduced or eliminated, governance and union contracts have been violated, high-priced administrators and consultants have been hired, support for research and program grants has been reduced, students and faculty have been disrespected and demoralized and advocacy, policy and cultural centers, an integral part of the institution, have not been supported. In the case of the Center for NuLeadership, a center which advocates for and supports formerly incarcerated individuals, an eviction letter has been issued. These actions represent a few of the critical issues about which we have grave concerns.

Centers and/or institutes exist throughout the City University and do so because each institution is attempting to address its particular mission with respect to the people it serves. The centers at Medgar Evers strengthen, enrich and support the college's academic degree programs, serve as vehicles for research, training, instruction and advocacy and fulfill the College's mission of communicating the knowledge of tradition and cultural heritage. For us to get into a diatribe about the role of a center, whether NuLeadership, the Dubois-Bunche Center for Public Policy or the Center for Law and Social Justice, is ludicrous and speaks to a lack of understanding and awareness of these entities. It demonstrates the shallowness and anti-intellectualism of these so called "educational leaders."

One only needs to read and understand the sacred nature of the mission of Medgar Evers College to see why the actions of the current administration violate this mission. It is a mission that individuals have cherished and for which they were prepared to go to jail. It represents the tenets and philosophy of its namesake Medgar Wiley Evers and reads:

"The Medgar Evers College, reflecting the image of the martyred leader who dedicated his life to the cause of individual freedom, dignity and personal fulfillment, will add another pillar of strength to the growing educational, economic, cultural and social foundations of the central Brooklyn community and New York City."