Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#MorehouseLetter: Morehouse in a downward trajectory?

This letter by Morehouse College alum Imar L. Hutchison addresses the college's board of trustees and the presidential search committee. He wishes for Morehouse to address those issues that are affecting the college and how the school risks irrelevancy!

I find it somewhat troubling that there are Morehouse Men who aren't sure if they want to send their sons to their own alma mater. There are certainly reasons for that, reasons that are explored in this letter. I don't yet have children so it's not necessarily an issue for me. Still, when I do have a son my hope is that he would consider Morehouse although he should have a choice in where he goes to university.

Some of these issues outlined in this letter have been discussed at some level by some friends of mine while we were undergrads. One gent was concerned about where the money is going at Morehouse. Another gent pretty much declared Morehouse a business school. In class years ago, my religion class discussed the issue of homosexuality at the college. Also the issue of rigor had been brought up at a Crown Forum by an esteemed alumni and was met with some boos.

As stated these issues do concern me. Here on this blog, I've explored the issue of whether or not HBCUs should continue to exist. Not sure I've ever provided an answer although my answer would be to say yes. My explanation is to state that HBCUs historically were created to provide Blacks access to higher education during those periods of time where they would have had a very tough time getting admitted to an American university. That mission should still be important although it may transcend ethnicities.

Morehouse is primarily known as the university of Dr. Martin Luther King. He's not the college's only prominent graduate and in the future I would expect that someone will reach his stature! Dr. King was not a business major and it's unfortunate that the college is being referred to as a business school.

Another thing I've explored on this blog was the issues of the political science department. My last year at Morehouse before I graduated saw the fallout from the departures of three professors. I learned for the first time then that the pol. sci. department was the 2nd largest department at the college. I also learned during that period that many of those students had simply moved from the business department to major in political science. It may well underscore the point of this letter that the best and brightest students were steered towards the business department!

OK, so perhaps we have another question to ask about Morehouse. Should the college be a school that helps to nurture leaders in many fields? Not only leaders in the business world but also in other fields and careers such as politics, science, medicine, academia, or even the church?

Mr. Hutchison does mention social justice although that's not a clear concept to me I understand where he's going. Social justice is about character more than anything a concern about other people and their welfare. Nothing says our primary goal is about chasing the almighty dollar. Should the idea of character education be a defining characteristic of Morehouse?

My hope is that the leadership at Morehouse College will grant Mr. Hutchison an audience and hopefully they will take some of his points under consideration. Not only that they seek to implement those changes but also choose the right people to execute them. Time will tell!

1 comment:

Imar H said...

Hello Levois. I am Imar Hutchins the author of the open letter to the Morehouse Board and a lead author of the Collective Statement which followed. Please look at our latest document entitled "Imagining a New Morehouse" at www.morehousenation.com/imagine/. If you are in Atlanta, we are having a forum on campus of the same title on Mon 9/17 at 6pm in Douglass Hall. More info available here: https://www.facebook.com/events/492570014089515/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

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