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Morris Brown College land part of Atlanta Falcons stadium deal with church

Documents obtained through an open records request show Friendship Baptist Church is demanding that the city of Atlanta help to relocate the church to the site of the vacant Middleton Towers dorm on the campus of bankrupt Morris Brown College.

Friendship Baptist Church  would need to be demolished to make room for a Falcons stadium south of the Georgia Dome.

The other complication for church's relocation is the Morris Brown College bankruptcy. A federal judge will have a key role in deciding whether the dorms will be sold.

Video Link

Morris Brown College trustees turn down nearly $10 million

The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Trustees of Morris Brown College have turned down an offer of nearly $10 million in taxpayer money

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had offered the money that would have eliminated the bankrupt school's $35 million debt and solved its legal problems.

Morris Brown's lawyer Anne Aaronson has said the city's offer was insufficient because it covered the college's debt but didn't provide operating funds.

She says the school has a better offer on the table. Reed and city officials say that's hard to believe. The lawyer declined to give any further details.

Reed says the school's rejection of his offer puts the school's future in danger and also threatens the city's vision for a revitalization of the area around the campus.

Adjuncts May Be Shut Out of Obama's Speech at Morehouse College

Usually, commencement exercises at Morehouse, like the ceremonies above, don't require tickets and anyone can attend. Things will be different this year, with high demand for a reduced number of seats and presidential security measures in place.

By Peter Schmidt
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Despite all the time they spend in its classrooms, part-time faculty members at Morehouse College are at risk of being kept away on Sunday when President Obama delivers this year's commencement address on the campus green.
Faced with overwhelming demand for seats at the event and the security concerns associated with a presidential visit, the historically black private college decided in February to deny tickets to its roughly 50 part-time faculty members. It has since reversed itself to the extent that it is at least trying to find a way to let adjuncts attend, but Elise Durham, a Morehouse spokeswoman, said on Tuesday that "we just don't know yet" if that will be possible. "We are making every effort to do what we can," she said.
The Atlanta institution clearly is dealing with exceptional circumstances surrounding the first appearance of a sitting U.S. president to deliver one of its commencement addresses. Nevertheless, its decision to deny tickets to its part-time faculty—while seating full-timers onstage—is being perceived by some national advocates for adjunct instructors as emblematic of how colleges often give that population second-class treatment when it comes to inclusion in campus events or access to campus facilities.
"It is so common for adjuncts to be excluded from things," Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, said on Tuesday. She said even those adjunct faculty members who hold full-time jobs outside academe, and therefore are not as unhappy with their pay and benefits as adjuncts who try to make a living by teaching, "will get very upset about these kinds of exclusions, because they are an insult and they are disrespectful."
"This is just more of the same," said Debra Leigh Scott, who teaches part time at Temple University and is co-producing the documentary Junct: The Trashing of Higher Ed. in America. Calling adjuncts "the invisible people" on college campuses, she said, "It is not at all surprising that the administration would make a decision to further erase the existence of adjuncts at this type of thing."
The Chronicle was unable to reach any Morehouse adjuncts on Tuesday afternoon who were willing to talk about their exclusion from the commencement ceremony, first reported last week in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But Keith Hollingsworth, a professor of business who is chairman of the college's Faculty Council, said, "They are not happy, of course. I don't think that is a big secret."
"Normally," Mr. Hollingsworth said, "we have a very open graduation ceremony," with seats in the front reserved for students and their families but others open to anyone who wanted to attend. "This is the first time we have had to restrict it," he said. "The whole emphasis is to try to have as many tickets for the students as possible."
Ms. Maisto said that at some colleges commencements pose a much different problem for adjuncts because they are required to attend the events without being reimbursed for their time.
At Morehouse, President Obama's scheduled appearance at the commencement has generated high demand for seats, security concerns limiting the number of seats available, and an exceptional level of scrutiny for the college. Morehouse's president, John S. Wilson Jr., already has come under criticism for reducing the role played in its graduation ceremonies by the Rev. Kevin R. Johnson, a Morehouse alumnus who leads a Baptist church in Philadelphia and had recently criticized President Obama in an essay in The Philadelphia Tribune.
In past years, Morehouse had set out about 10,000 seats for its commencement, with no ticket requirements, and let about 3,000 additional people stand in the back. This year, for security reasons, it has had to remove a section of seats, reducing the number available to 9,500, and to require everyone in attendance to have a ticket. It has offered one ticket each to its 170 full-time faculty members, who will have to go through background checks before being seated onstage; one ticket each to members of its staff; and 12 tickets to each of its students.
Ms. Maisto of New Faculty Majority said the situation at Morehouse is an example of how adjuncts "are often reminded of our status" by being given inferior treatment, even when equal treatment would not cost the college any additional money. "It is as much about academic culture as it is about economics," she said, "maybe even more so."

April 15, 2013

Morehouse College's Leader Seeks to Reverse Decline

By Eric Kelderman
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Walking across the campus of his alma mater, Morehouse College, President John S. Wilson Jr. points out buildings named for famous alumni and leaders of the civil-rights movement.

The building that used to be called Thurman Hall, where Mr. Wilson lived as a freshman in 1975, was named for the influential 20th-century theologian, Howard Thurman. Du Bois Hall, where Mr. Wilson lived his sophomore through senior years, is named for W.E.B. Du Bois. King Chapel is named for the college's best-known alumnus, Martin Luther King Jr.

The names on the buildings represent the people and ideals that students seek to model their lives on, says Mr. Wilson, who became president of the all-male, historically black college in January. He chose to live in Du Bois Hall, he says, because he wanted to emulate the great scholar, a graduate of Fisk University, another black college, who advocated for higher education for African-Americans as a way to lift them out of poverty and erase the damages of slavery in the United States.

"These guys lived lives that were worthy of being on a building," says Mr. Wilson.

Now, the leadership and inspiration that led to the formation and growth of black colleges during the 19th and 20th centuries needs to take a new form, he says: What students at Morehouse need is someone who will step up and donate the money to build a new building, or endow a scholarship fund.

Improving the fund-raising operation is just one of the ways that Morehouse can "make a surge to a new echelon," says Mr. Wilson, who was previously director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. "Being president allows me the chance to shift Morehouse from needy to nimble," he says. "The strongest are nimble."

Mr. Wilson's efforts will be closely watched by other black colleges, where the promise of change has come a lot easier than the process. Raising money to improve campus buildings and equipment, for example, has been a major hurdle, even for the best-known historically black colleges, like Morehouse.

A deeper challenge will be to reverse a decline in enrollment that has not only compounded the financial struggles of those institutions but also undermined their reputation as the best places for high-achieving black students.

"My goal is to see the place that I imagined as a student," Mr. Wilson says. "I imagine a great Morehouse—an awesome place."

The nation's 105 historically black colleges are credited with successfully lifting freed slaves and their descendants out of illiteracy after the Civil War and helping to create a black middle class as the 20th century matured.

Even as traditionally white colleges were integrating by the mid-1970s, black colleges remained vital as places for African-American students to succeed and become empowered by the supportive environment and cultural identity.

Mr. Wilson, who attended an integrated high school in Philadelphia, says Morehouse appealed to him, in part, because there he would not feel like "the other," he says.

The strong cultural connections and nurturing environment are still a draw for many who attend historically black colleges. Anré Washington, a senior and student-government president at Morehouse, says the college was the only one he applied to, because of its "history, what it stood for, what it taught young men to be."

But a dwindling percentage of young African-Americans are making the choice that Mr. Washington made.

Enrollment of black students at black colleges has steadily declined as a percentage of black students over all. Just 11 percent of all black students now choose black colleges as other sectors of higher education have aggressively sought to diversify their campuses. While black colleges still award more than 20 percent of the undergraduate degrees earned by black students, two for-profit institutions, the University of Phoenix and Ashford University, now lead the nation in the overall numbers of bachelor's degrees awarded to African-Americans.

The students that many black colleges are losing to predominantly white colleges are often the top academic performers, says Phillip L. Clay, a professor of city planning and former chancellor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a friend and former colleague of Mr. Wilson's.

As a result, a greater share of the students attending black colleges are underprepared, making for lower retention and graduation rates, Mr. Clay writes in a study of black colleges he did while serving as a senior fellow at the Ford Foundation.

Some historically black colleges have responded to declining enrollment by lowering admissions standards, but many don't have the money to help underprepared students succeed academically, says Kassie Freeman, a former vice president for academic and student affairs for the Southern University system, based in Baton Rouge, La. Struggling students cost more to educate, because they need more academic advising and tutoring, for example.

Financial viability has long been a challenge for historically black colleges, which have primarily served low-income students. In addition, they have had a lower percentage of alumni support, between 5 percent and 11 percent, compared with predominantly white colleges, where on average more than 20 percent of alumni are donors.

The median amount of total cash and investments for the more than 500 col­leges rated by Moody's Investors Service was more than $200-million in 2011, compared with a median amount of $49-million for the 18 historically black colleges Moody's rates.

The recent economic downturn has put an added strain on many black colleges, where an above-average number of students and families are unable to afford the tuition increases that could bolster the colleges' bottom lines.

Morehouse's academic performance is far above average compared with most historically black colleges, but it has significant financial challenges. Since the fall of 2007, Morehouse's enrollment has dropped nearly 16 percent, to about 2,300 students, according to a December report from Moody's, despite a goal of increasing enrollment to 2,600. Morehouse's endowment is about $140-million, but the small private colleges that Mr. Wilson wants Morehouse to be compared with all have more than a billion in the bank.

In the fall of 2012, only a third of the students Morehouse accepted enrolled, compared with nearly half of those accepted in 2008, according to Moody's.

The college took another big hit in the fall when more than 100 Morehouse students chose not to attend after their parents were denied federal Parent PLUS Loans because of tighter lending standards.

Mr. Wilson says he has been contemplating how to improve the college since he was a student here. "I used to call my sister at Swarthmore and ask her about the way it was run," he says.

Those comparisons were partly the basis for an essay Mr. Wilson wrote at the time for the student newspaper that he titled "Disturbed About Morehouse." The title echoed the name of a book, Disturbed About Man, written by Morehouse's president emeritus, Benjamin E. Mays.

In the essay, Mr. Wilson says he raised issues "like our need to be more selective, the high attrition rate, the obvious apathy of too many students, and the need for more of an emphasis on developing character as a central part of the Morehouse experience." As a student, Mr. Wilson told the former president that he "loved Morehouse, but he didn't always like it."

Mr. Mays challenged him to get some experience and then come back to try to improve the college, Mr. Wilson says.

He did just that, earning a master of theological studies from Harvard University, and both a master's and a doctorate in administration, planning, and social policy, from Harvard.

He worked for 16 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, becoming director of foundation relations and assistant provost, and overseeing two capital campaigns that raised a total of $2.7-billion.

After moving to the Washington, D.C., area, he became an associate professor of higher education at George Washington University, served as executive dean of the university's Virginia campus, and helped to develop a strategic plan for the institution.

Mr. Wilson lists the characteristics of selective liberal-arts colleges, like Amherst, Grinnell, and Swarthmore, that Morehouse should aspire to, including a healthy endowment, competitive faculty salaries, a brand that attracts an appropriate caliber of student, and a state-of-the-art educational environment.

The key to improving those aspects of Morehouse lies in enhancing the use of technology in all aspects of campus operations and becoming "data driven," Mr. Wilson says, especially to streamline student-support services. In a January interview on NPR, Mr. Wilson explained that many alumni of black colleges feel a kind of "nausea" about the poor customer service from the financial-aid office or the registrar.

Data-driven efficiency and the use of best practices are not new in higher education, and Mr. Wilson is one of a cadre of new leaders seeking to raise the stature and financial viability of historically black colleges through such methods. "Historically black colleges can and should be among the best in class among American universities," he says.

Other presidents who are seen as leading this movement include Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University, M. Christopher Brown II at Alcorn State University, and David J. Wilson of Morgan State University.

Their reform message has received a mixed reception.

Mr. Kimbrough became president of Dillard in 2011 after seven years of rehabilitating the struggling Philander Smith College, in Arkansas­—his first job as a college president. Mr. Kimbrough was popular with Philander Smith students because of his youthful demeanor and engaging personality, and he was successful at turning the college around by focusing on the academic performance of the institution, including measures to improve retention and graduation rates, raise faculty salaries, and increase the percentage of alumni giving.

David J. Wilson, president of Morgan State University, in Baltimore, has not enjoyed the same smooth sailing. Following a president who served for more than a quarter century, Mr. Wilson was just three years into his tenure when Morgan State's Board of Regents tried to oust him.

David Wilson's agenda for Morgan State has included an effort to raise admissions standards and increase the amount of sponsored research that faculty members are awarded, particularly in the sciences. To facilitate that, Mr. Wilson created a new vice presidency for research and economic development.

But the chairman of the board, Dallas R. Evans, blamed the president for hiring new administrators rather than "allocate additional positions for faculty, who teach our students, write grants, conduct research, and do community outreach."

The chairman was later ousted from his position. Morgan State's board eventually reversed its decision and offered Mr. Wilson a one-year contract extension.

MIT's Phillip Clay, in his study of black colleges, writes about how a culture of a nurturing family environment—among the hallmarks of the institutions—can lead to a paternalistic style of leadership that discourages innovation within the college, expects students to endure poor services, and fosters an insularity that rejects advice or collaboration from outside the college.

David Wilson agrees that some historically black colleges cling to the way things have always been done. "If you have been living in a matchbox for a long time, and you pretty much have been conditioned not to think of things beyond the matchbox, and if someone removes it, you may think it still represents the parameters of what you can and cannot do," he says.

John Wilson has few specific plans so far. His first few weeks were consumed with relocating and getting settled in the middle of the academic year­—a visit to his office in February revealed bookshelves only half filled. And he'd had to deal with the February 1 shooting of a Morehouse student after a basketball game on campus. The victim was injured but expected to recover fully.

Yet Mr. Wilson carefully spells out the four main areas he wants to focus on: improved fund raising, more efficient and effective administrative operations, more campus activities for students, and improving Morehouse's image both locally and nationally.

The college will also need a more intensive student-recruitment effort to reverse enrollment declines while, simultaneously, becoming more selective in admissions.

"There were 20,000 African-American male high-school graduates last year with admissions profiles best-suited for Morehouse College," Mr. Wilson says. "We got less than 15 percent of them to apply."

Mr. Clay's report on black col­leges, "Facing the Future," sees increased selectivity as key. "Improving the quality of the student body means focusing on enrolling students who have the preparation to be successful," he writes. "This is an important part of the transformation" that historically black colleges will need to engineer.

For financial reasons alone, "it's going to be very difficult for institutions to remain open access," as most are, says Kassie Freeman, who has published several studies on enrollment at historically black colleges. Ms. Freeman recommends that black colleges expand their recruiting, which in many cases is limited to their immediate region or nearby urban areas, she said.

More than two-thirds of Morehouse's enrollment comes from out of state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.

In some cases, historically black colleges have been able to capitalize on the growing Hispanic population in their regions. Hispanic students are now the majority at several black colleges in Texas, for example. At Morehouse, however, 96 percent of the students are African American. All are male, but there are women from neighboring Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University who take classes at Morehouse.

The students who have already enrolled seem enthusiastic about Mr. Wilson's ideas. Jarvis Gray is studying political science and serves as the junior class president at Morehouse, which he chose for its emphasis on building leadership skills. But, he says, he has a "love hate" relationship with the college because of bureaucratic inefficiencies and lagging technology. For example, requesting the use of a campus building for a student activity requires a lot of tedious paperwork and could be better accomplished electronically, he says.

Faculty members have also, so far, welcomed Mr. Wilson's approach and message, which includes plans to increase faculty salaries and improve facilities.

John Kermit (J.K.) Haynes, dean of math and science at Morehouse, says faculty members appreciate that Mr. Wilson has been open and candid with them both about the college's difficulties as well as his proposed solutions.

"We've been challenged in recent years with raising money," says Mr. Haynes, a Morehouse graduate who has taught here for more than 30 years. "We need John Wilson to be successful."

Clarissa Myrick-Harris, dean of humanities and social sciences, says Mr. Wilson's experiences both in and outside historically black colleges will be a strength. "It's impossible to move an institution forward if you're myopic," she says.

Yet there is evidence that Morehouse has been reluctant to change in the past: Many of the problems that disturbed Mr. Wilson during his student days persist, he wrote in e-mail, without being specific.

Mr. Wilson expects that "there's going to be resistance" to doing some things differently, but he is counting on the stakeholders at Morehouse "to get ready for a different kind of journey here, and embrace change the way we have never embraced it before."

UNC campuses will not be closed in Senate budget
None of the 17 campuses in the UNC system will be closed in the Senate budget. The prospect of closing one of the schools triggered an outcry from faculty and students.

By Lynn Bonnera
The News & Observer

Senate leaders are backing away from the possibility of closing one or more of the UNC system campuses.

“I don’t see that being in the budget,” Senate leader Phil Berger said. Senate leaders continue to look for more ways for campuses to save money, but will not propose closing any campuses in the budget that will cover the next two years.

“For a long time folks have talked about needs for efficiencies in the system,” said Berger, an Eden Republican.

The Senate budget proposal is set to be released in a few weeks.

Sen. Pete Brunstetter, a Senate budget writer, said last month that Senate leaders were considering closing or consolidating one or two UNC system campuses to save money and eliminate overlapping programs. Senate leaders were talking about closing campuses or merging or transferring campuses to the community college system.

The prospect of closing one of the 17-campuses triggered an outcry from UNC faculty and students.

On Tuesday, representatives from the state’s historic black colleges and universities were assured that no UNC campus would be closed. Berger told them legislators would seek to save money in the university system through better coordination among campuses but not by closing a school this year or next.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget did not close any campuses, but reduces overall spending by $139 million.

Morgan State University regents oust Evans as their chairman
He had led push to not renew president's contract, though it was eventually extended

By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

In the latest twist in a battle over the leadership of Morgan State University, the Board of Regents voted Tuesday to oust board chairman Dallas R. Evans, who had led a push to not renew the contract of university President David J. Wilson.

The regents voted 9-5 against Evans, the managing director of a Washington-based home builder who has served on the board for more than 20 years.

"Everybody thought this would be a wise decision to keep the board in a positive attitude," said board vice-chair Martin Resnick, the founder of Martin's Caterers, who will serve as interim chair.

The vote represents the latest salvo in a struggle between Evans and Wilson, who became president after the retirement of Earl S. Richardson, Morgan's leader for a quarter-century.

In December, the regents abruptly voted 8-7 to seek a new president at the end of the school year, when Wilson's current contract expires.

That decision drew an outcry from students, faculty members and community leaders who praised Wilson's 10-year plan for the university and drive to bolster Morgan's reputation as a center of urban research.

Several weeks later, the board convened again and voted 14-1 to draft a new one-year contract for Wilson. Evans cast the lone dissenting vote.

Resnick said that a committee of regents was working to draft a new contract for Wilson. The committee will also choose a liaison to work on improving communication between Wilson and the board — a concern cited by some regents as the cause of discord.

Wilson, who has led the university for the past 21/2 years, declined to comment in detail about the decision to oust Evans as chairman, saying he had enjoyed working with him and looked forward to working with the new board leadership.

Evans said he would abide by the board's decision, but said the controversy surrounding Wilson had not been resolved.

"This situation as relates to Dr. Wilson is far from over," Evans said. "There will be more to come — I'm certain of that."

Evans, whose term on the board expires in 2015, was adamant in his opposition to Wilson's leadership.

"I'm very satisfied with the position I've taken," said Evans, who has chaired the board for more than a decade.

He connected the board's decision to doff him to Wilson's influence. Wilson, he said, had waged a "very proactive campaign to position himself to continue."

Student leaders said Tuesday that they hoped the regents' decision indicated that the board had chosen to support Wilson.

"I'm happy we still have Dr. Wilson as our president," said Student Government Association vice president Alvin Hill. "That was our mission as an SGA."

Hill, a senior, said that he was grateful to Evans for his long service to the university but that it was "time for a new face."

"We hope the board will continue to challenge Wilson, but also work with him," Hill said.

Deanne Perry, president of the Graduate Student Association, said she was heartened by the board's decision.

"This shows Morgan is serious about changing," Perry said. "Students were outraged with what happened with Dr. Wilson's contract not being renewed."

Perry said she was hopeful that Wilson would remain at Morgan to implement his 10-year plan, which calls for improving the neighborhoods surrounding the Northeast Baltimore campus, among other initiatives.

"My hope, and the hope of others, is that Dr. Wilson will stay past the one-year renewal," she said. "Who could the university put in place who would do a better job than Dr. Wilson is doing for us?"

Evans led the effort in early December to seek a replacement for Wilson. The board, meeting in a special closed session a few days after classes ended, voted to not renew Wilson's contract.

One regent, the Rev. Frances "Toni" Murphy Draper, wrote an open letter criticizing the decision, which came a month after the board unanimously approved a positive performance review for Wilson.

When the regents met again in late December, they voted to draft a new contract for Wilson before the end of January. That contract has yet to be negotiated or approved.

Wilson said Tuesday that he was not troubled by the delay; board members said they hoped to soon have a contract.

Evans sent regents a harshly worded letter last month saying that Wilson had "severely compromised" the university and blaming the "turmoil that has beset the Morgan community" on him.,0,3808101.story

Baltimore Ravens-Championship Parade Live Video 11:00 am Tuesday Feb 5

This will do wonders for Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi and University of Southern Mississippi.

One of the smartest moves they could have made. Clark Atlanta needs to do the same to increase enrollment.

Actually, there is no such thing as in-state tuition at Clark Atlanta University. It's a private university and never had 2 rates for their students from Georgia. Everyone there already pays the same tuition.  Just like Morehouse and Spelman.

Mississippi Valley State University to charge out-of-state students in-state tuition rate

The Science & Technology Center at Mississippi Valley State University

Associated Press

ITTA BENA, MS- Mississippi Valley State University will become the second of Mississippi's eight public universities to allow all out-of-state residents to pay the same tuition rates as students who live in the state.

Delta State was the first.

After College Board approval Thursday, all eight schools now plan to waive nonresident charges for at least some students. Besides Valley, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi won approval to charge in-state rates for certain groups of students.

A 2012 law allows universities to reduce tuition to in-state levels for non-Mississippians. The idea is to lure students who wouldn't otherwise attend, increasing revenue.

Mississippi universities increasingly depend on tuition, as state appropriations have stagnated in recent years. The schools say competitors in other states are waiving charges for Mississippi students.

University of the District of Columbia cuts nearly 100 positions

By Nick Anderson
The Washington Post

Friday, January 25, 2013

The University of the District of Columbia is jettisoning nearly 100 positions from its staff in an effort to save $8.5 million a year, officials said Friday.

The cuts, expected to result in dozens of layoffs, come little more than a month after the UDC Board of Trustees fired President Allen L. Sessoms.

It was not immediately clear exactly how many employees would be laid off at the city’s public university and how many positions would be eliminated through attrition. A news release said 69 positions were abolished through a board vote Wednesday night. In addition, there were 28 “position eliminations” in an administrative shake-up that did not require a board vote, board Vice Chairman Christopher Bell said Friday.

Some of the positions eliminated were described as executive level, but a list was not immediately available.

“This is a very painful time for our university community,” board Chairwoman Elaine A. Crider said in a prepared statement. “We realize these actions impact peoples’ lives. The university values the contributions of all of our employees; however, these cuts are necessary in order to position the university to better serve its economic and educational mandates to the District of Columbia.”

Many of the cuts, Bell said, targeted administrative staff, in an effort to minimize the impact on students. He said a handful of faculty positions were eliminated.

The university, which has been under pressure to cut costs, is in the midst of planning how to “right-size” its operations. Officials have said the university’s unrestricted operating budget is about $108 million a year, with the city providing about $65 million as a subsidy.

Fall enrollment data show there are 5,490 students at UDC. More than half (2,838) are enrolled in the two-year community college, which is headquartered on North Capitol Street NE and has satellite locations on South Dakota Avenue NE and Livingston Road SE. Another 2,019 are in the four-year undergraduate program, based at the main campus on Connecticut Avenue NW, while 380 are in the law school and 253 in other graduate programs.

In recent years UDC, which has struggled with low graduation rates, has sought to raise its academic reputation. The low-cost community college was launched in 2009, with the idea of raising tuition for the four-year program and making it more prestigious.

But debates have emerged over the university’s budget and governance. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said last month there were “a lot of questions about the direction the university was heading” at the time Sessoms was fired.

Brazil sets crack cocaine loose in its Black majority

Harry C. Alford
Florida Courier

Crack addiction is out of control in Brazil.
It started in the jungles of the Amazon and is now infesting the streets of the “favelas” (ghettos) of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. In fact, Brazilians are the biggest consumers of crack and cocaine in the whole world.
Keep in mind that Brazil has over 100 million Black citizens, which makes the nation second only to Nigeria in Black population. Brazil has two and a half times the Black population of the United States.
What happened?
How this has come to be is mysterious. But one thing is for sure – it predominantly affects the Black populace of this nation. It also reminds us of the targeted assault of crack on our own Black population.
Brazil is a former colony of Portugal. The Portuguese took a ship full of enslaved Africans to the Vatican. They were seeking the Catholic pope’s blessing. He received the Africans and blessed what the Portuguese were about to do. Thus, the greatest holocaust in history – Trans-Atlantic African slavery – was begun.
Portugal claimed Brazil in the year 1500 and the first enslaved Africans were delivered in 1525. There are villages in southeastern Brazil where the villagers still speak their native African languages.
Unlike the United States that went through a civil war and reconstruction for the immersion of Africans into the general population, Brazil and other South American nations ended slavery during the 1880s abruptly and had no transition for the newly freed Blacks.
In denial
This nation tries to hide its Blackness. They are officially in denial about disparity.
Blacks are 52 percent of the population but, in a nation where voting is mandatory, Blacks have less than 10 percent of the elected officials. They have no economic base and any Black celebrity such as an athlete, singer or actor is expected to marry someone White.
It reminds me of that old rock tune “All They Want To Do Is Dance.” Some day there is going to be a struggle in this predominantly Black nation.
How is it done?
 How is cocaine being brought into this large nation?  I have read various articles about the situation but no one seems to identify the source. It could be using the model of the United States. The difference is the trafficking started in the rural areas in Brazil with the cities being the final market.
The CIA wanted to fund a revolution in Nicaragua and was denied by Congress. Thus, they came up with a funding scheme. They would introduce crack to Black neighborhoods in the United States and come up with quick cash to buy arms for its rebels. They recruited a bright, entrepreneurial, middle-class guy living in Los Angeles by the name of Ricky Donnell Ross.
Rick Ross put the first crack house in America at 69th and Hoover. That was 11 blocks south of my Aunt Lula’s home. His distribution source would be two fledgling gangs: the Crips and the Bloods.
Los Angeles always had gangs. But they were social units like the Slausons, Business Men and Del Vikings. These new groups are murdering machines and would soon infest the entire nation with the crack plague.
In the end, Rick Ross had mastered a $600 million enterprise and only had to do 14 years in prison. The damage done by this CIA-sponsored activity was very serious and it is still having a detrimental affect on our society.
Government cooperation
The addiction level in Brazil is raging into a severe fury. No one seems to know how it is coming into the nation. Ha!
Like the United States there is some level of cooperation. The United States would use two major street gangs. The Brazilians have three gangs running their operation.
There is a lack of much police activity.
The only official activity to stop this plague is the social work industry.  People will visit these “crack lands” that are located near favelas and try to convince addicts to enter rehab. They are basically ignored. Very rarely will you see police or military trying to suppress the drug activity.
These gangs operate with impunity within the favelas. They are more like the local government and organized crime can flourish within their territories.
Black misery
Brazil is known for its corruption at all levels and the crack business seems to have found very friendly territory. We in the Black Diaspora should not be quiet about this. There are evil people profiting off the misery of Black folk and where is the outrage?
The government has announced that it will fund $2.2 billion for further rehab and education efforts, but that probably will do nothing to stop the rise in addiction.
A very large Black population is at risk and the world seems to ignore it.
Harry C. Alford is the co-founder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Contact him via

It will be nice to see the new service in the new Tompkins Hall Dining facility.

Sodexho Campus Services use to have the contract in the past.

New company to take over food services at Tuskegee University

CEO Warren M. Thompson

TUSKEGEE, Alabama (January 4, 2013) — A new dining experience will be coming to the university community soon. Thompson Hospitality, one of the largest retail food and facilities management companies in the nation, will be assuming operation of the on-campus dining services and convenience store. According to its website, the business was recognized as “Company of the Year” in 2010 by Black Enterprise Magazine.

In addition to providing food service for students in Chambliss Hall, the company will replace WOW Café and Wingery and Ja--man’s Café and Bakery in Margaret Murray Washington Hall. The new eateries are Austin Grille Express, a restaurant brand whose offerings include grilled and fried chicken wings, wraps and burgers and Marvelous Market, which will offer Starbucks Coffee Co. products and packaged salads and sandwiches.

The former C-Store will now be known as Red Tails Landing convenience store. In addition to groceries and basics necessities, it will provide gourmet sandwiches, salads, pastries, fresh fruit and snack foods. Personal pan pizzas with authentic ingredients will also be available.

The Washington Hall locations and Red Tails Landing will offer daily specials, monthly promotions and frequency cards to encourage new and existing customers to visit more often.

Ribbon cutting ceremonies will be held for the new eateries and Red Tails Landing Jan. 8 starting at 9:30 a.m. They will be officially open for business Jan. 9.

Black Enterprise Magazine

Thompson Hospitality was founded in 1992 when CEO Warren M. Thompson negotiated a leveraged buyout of 31 Big Boy restaurants from Marriott Corp.. Herndon, Virginia-based Thompson Hospitality Corp.  acquired the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia restaurants for $13.1 million.  

In 1993, THC landed its first contracts, with Baltimore City Community College and Saint Paul's College in Lawrenceville, Virginia. THC’s first HBCU client, Morgan State University was its first major university client in 1995.

In 1997, Thompson formed a partnership with Compass Group North America, a division of publicly traded global food service provider Compass Group PLC. The joint venture, Thompson Hospitality Services L.L.C., gave majority owner THC economies of scale enabling it to purchase large quantities of food and supplies at a deep discount. The company has expanded its reach into healthcare. It has also re-entered the retail arena with ownership of 23 outlets that include Austin Grill restaurants; Marvelous Market, gourmet-style convenience stores; and American Tap Room, a bar and grill in Reston and Arlington, Virginia as well as in Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland.

THC now consists of five lines of business:

Retail incorporates casual dining restaurants and a local chain of Tex-Mex restaurants as well as a gourmet convenience store bakery concept. This group also includes a car wash business, Ashburn Car Wash.
Business and industry focuses on corporate dining, providing cafeteria food services, vending, and coffee service to large corporations around the U.S.
Education provides food services to colleges and universities as well as K–12 school districts.
Healthcare contracts with hospitals across the country to offer food services.
Facilities management provides janitorial services, window washing, landscaping, concierge service, and mail room management to corporations as well as colleges and universities.

CEO Warren M. Thompson is a 1981 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and University of Virginia's Darden School of Business where he earned his M.B.A.

Through its expansive partnership with Compass Group, Thompson Hospitality provides dining services for corporations and universities in 46 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy.
Thompson Hospitality restaurant and retail division operates five different concepts with 18 locations across Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.


VictoryLand to open at 2 p.m. today

Sebastian Kitchen
Montgomery Advertiser

An attorney for VictoryLand said this morning that the casino will open at 2 p.m. today.

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor had said earlier this year, after he was acquitted in a federal corruption trial, that he planned to reopen by the end of the year.

Joe Espy, an attorney for McGregor helping with the reopening, said just before 7 a.m. today that the casino would reopen.

There has been an ongoing fight over the legality of the machines that will be used at VictoryLand.

McGregor, Espy, Macon County Sheriff David Warren and experts hired by Warren have said the machines are not slot machines, which are illegal in the state, but are legal electronic bingo machines.

Attorney General Luther Strange disagrees and believes they are slot machines. He has vowed to enforce the rule of law and has contested the liquor license for the facility.

Espy said last week that the facility would reopen before the end of the year with 200 to 250 employees and about 1,200 machines. He hopes, once the facility is up and running, that operators can expand the number of machines and expand the number of employees to 2,500, the number at the facility before it closed under the threat of raids from a task force formed by then-Gov. Bob Riley.

McGregor closed the facility in August 2010 because of the threat of raids.

Strange’s office did not respond immediately on Tuesday morning to a request for comment.

Agents with Strange’s office, along with local law enforcement, have raided and shut down other casinos in the state, and he has warned other facilities in the state.

Last week, Espy said the casino could not open until the machines were certified. The sheriff, who promulgates rules for bingo in Macon County, certified the machines last Wednesday.

Espy said last week that they will originally open the west gaming room, an ice cream shop that serves sandwiches, a bar in that portion of the facility, a club, and a cafe.

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