Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Pink Slips at Morris Brown

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Pink Slips at Morris Brown

Article excerpt

Four months after the arrival of its new president, Dr. Delores Cross, more than one-third of the Morris Brown College faculty has either been let go or placed on probation

ATLANTA -- Faculty and students at Morris Brown College are learning that a new broom sweeps clean.

More than one-third of the Atlanta liberal arts college's faculty was fired, forced to retire, or placed on probation for one month because they did not meet the vision of the school's new president, Dr. Delores E. Cross.

After taking the helm in November, Cross convened a transition team to review the credentials and published work of all faculty members. The faculty was evaluated according to various criteria, including their teaching, scholarly work, and community service.

The transition team -- composed of faculty members, trustees, administrators, students, and alumni -- recommended the removal of 16 teachers and forced three others to retire. Calls to Morris Brown to verify these numbers went unanswered. Only 14 faculty members have tenure, and one was forced to retire. The team also advised that six teachers should be forced to retire by June 1, 2000, and 10 more should be put on probation through June 30, 2000.

"When I came to Morris Brown, one of the commitments I made to the board of trustees was to address the institution building necessary for making a stronger college," Cross says.

Faculty members were given an opportunity to make a case for being retained. They will have a chance to meet with the dean of faculty about their cases before all decisions and reviews from the Office of Academic Affairs become final on April 1.

"To ensure that the college is driven by the historic mission and by the vision of a quality education for all our students, new faculty will be sought," Cross says. "But currently, we are still in the midst of the review process. My goal is to act firmly, yet compassionately. We also hope to provide transitional assistance to those who want to use those services."

"Any time you have new leadership, there tend to be some casualties -- and sometimes, a few non-deserving people get caught up in the process," says Robert Barnett, a 1961 graduate, member of the National Alumni Association, and president of the Morris Brown Athletic Foundation. …

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