The Chronicle of Higher Education reported yesterday that the University of Maryland University College  (UMUC) has decided to cancel an online Ph.D. program for community college administrators because it competes with Morgan State University , a public, historically black institution which offers a similar Ph.D. program. Chronicle writer Marc Parry explains ,
Last week, 25 new students began training at University of Maryland University College to become community-college administrators.
But none of them live in Maryland. In fact, the university has been barred from offering this online doctoral degree to state residents.
The bizarre situation stems from a turf struggle between UMUC and Morgan State University, a historically black institution in Baltimore that objected to the UMUC effort because it would duplicate a similar program that Morgan State offers as a blend of face-to-face and online course work…
…Some context: In the 1992 college-desegregation case United States v. Fordice, the U.S. Supreme Court said states should make an effort to prevent predominantly white institutions from setting up programs that compete with public black colleges. Another Maryland public institution competing with Morgan’s program would violate the Fordice decision, says Marybeth Gasman, an expert on black colleges at the University of Pennsylvania.
Morgan State is one of the few black colleges that offers a doctoral program for higher-education administrators. James E. Lyons Sr., Maryland’s secretary of higher education, says he decided to restrict the University of Maryland University College degree to protect a unique program, not to assault online education.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘Well, how in the world could you make a decision that denies a school the opportunity to serve its own state population?'” he says. “But they’re not looking at it in the historical context. This is a very profound higher-ed desegregation issue.”…
MSU argued for the complete dismantling of the UMUC online course back in November. “The only legal and responsible option available to the Secretary and the Maryland Higher Education Commission was to deny UMUC’s program proposal and to recommend to the Governor and the Legislature that they provide, as soon as the budget allows, funding sufficient for Morgan to deliver the program in whatever format necessary to insure access wherever necessary, be it in-state or out-of-state,” states the press release . It also asserts that,
Morgan contends also that the concept of a publicly supported university such as UMUC offering a program to everyone except the taxpayers who support it is unsound. Equally unsound is the idea that a state-supported traditionally white institution would be approved to duplicate an existing program at a public historically black campus, which state and federal law clearly prohibits. It does not matter that the UMUC program is an on-line program, particularly in an age when all campuses have the capacity to offer programs on campus, at satellite sites, on-line, in-state and out-of-state.
The Institute for Urban Research  is MSU’s “primary social science research and training arm of Morgan State University,” according to the MSU website. Its Director, Prof. Raymond Winbush, is very open about his beliefs:
“Make no mistake: *Avatar* is about racism/white supremacy and all of its horrors,” he recently tweeted . “Historically, violent, rapacious, imperialistic, white supremacist attacks have not only been directed toward Africans, but indigenous people as well. Indeed, if Avatar doesn’t do anything else, it shows that white supremacy directs its malicious onslaught against all people of color both inside and outside of Africa,” Prof. Winbush writes  on his blog , which is titled, “Reparations for Enslavement and the Blackside of things.”
On July 4, 2009 Prof. Winbush tweeted  that he was “Looking at the Washington Monument at night with the two blinking lites at the top. Looks like a Klansman in a hood with red eyes,” and wished others “Happy Fourth of You Lie.”
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia .