Morris Brown College Facing Foreclosure

by Britni Danielle

One of the oldest HBCUs in the nation is facing foreclosure. After 131 years of educating students, Morris Brown College in Atlanta is on the brink of closing its doors.

For the last decade, Morris Brown has faced climbing debt, severe mismanagement, and dwindling student enrollment.

In 2003 the college lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools due to years of mismanagement, questions of fraud, and increasing debt. The loss of its accreditation also meant the intuition lost its federal funding, and the United Negro College Fund also pulled it support.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) gives more details on Morris Brown’s woes:

Over the last two decades, while Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University have thrived, Morris Brown withered away.

In 2003, after years of severe financial mismanagement, fraud and debt, the school lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the federal funding and academic standing that comes with it. With the loss of accreditation, the United Negro College Fund, also withdrew its financial and other support. 

The capper came in 2006, when Dolores Cross, who served as president from 1998 to 2002, pleaded guilty to embezzling federal funds by applying for money on behalf of students without their knowledge or consent. Cross used the money to pay operating costs. She was ordered to pay $13,942 in restitution to the government and was sentenced to five years of probation but avoided prison time.

These days, Morris Brown only has about 50 students enrolled, a far cry from the years when it served over 3,000 young minds every year. Barring a miracle, an auction of the college’s assets, including the school’s administration building, will take place on September 4.

Former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman, a graduate of Morris Brown, called the school’s predicament  “heartbreaking” and said “the school is needed now more than ever.”

According to the AJC, Morris Brown owes approximately $30 million to creditors and raised about $500,000 to pay off a $9.9 million debt to the U.S. Department of Education.

A prayer vigil for Morris Brown College is being held this coming weekend.

  • http://mommaused2say.wordpress.com mommaused2say

    How sad! I don’t know what else to say.

  • Patience

    Hmph. I was accepted there back in 2004 when I graduated high school.

  • The Comment

    “These days, Morris Brown only has about 50 students enrolled, a far cry from the years when it served over 3,000 young minds every year.” MOUTH DROP!!!!

    I remember Ebony reporting financial mismanagement of this school about 10 years ago. I just knew the problem would be resolved. Funding and finances are complicated issues but how do you let the chit just hit the fan??? And I know it is not uncommon for colleges and universities to experience fraud…but at the expense of closure?

    This is just a damn shame. A crying damn shame!

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    A whole lot of people have graduated from Morris Brown and they need to get together and help their school. And a celeb or two helping out would be good too. Hopefully they have competent and honest people running the college now.

  • Cee Cee

    My great aunt and uncle both taught at Morris Brown back in the day and it really saddens me to hear that they have gone down so. I think that some of their estate was left to the school, clearly not enough to save it from decline. Hopefully more alumni, etc. will step in and help bring it back to life.

  • D.T.

    Fifty students? This is very sad.

  • Jasmine Caldwell

    Where is Rev. Jesse and Al when you need them? Oh I forgot they only show up when the media is all over the next “hot” story. Has Tom Joyner say anything about this I know he help sends a lot of students to HBCUs.

  • LemonNLime

    “A prayer vigil for Morris Brown College is being held this coming weekend.”

    I’m sorry but what is a prayer vigil going to accomplish? Such a passive action. They needed that before hiring corrupt administrators.

  • Patience

    I asked myself the same thing.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Agreed!

  • NewLook

    @ lEMON & lINE RIGHT! What they needed was responsible management and loyal alumni..too late now. If I was 1 of the 50 students at Morris Brown I would be looking at transferring right about now so my education is worth something when I graduate. Even the Alumni are kind of in trouble.

  • CocobeanCool

    How about being proactive about the sitution. Waiting on wishing on prayer won’t solve anything.

  • Angela Mathews

    WOW!! What a shame that a legacy is going down the tubes!! As a graduate of one of the AUC schools I have to say that for it to come to this is atrocious!! People really don’t care about the students anymore, huh? That’s what happens when the wrong people are put in leadership positions. At this point it will take a true miracle to save Morris Brown. I have relatives who graduated from MBC, one of which just graduated in what may be the last graduating class from that institution. It pains me to no end that something more wasn’t done for this school. Not to mention the loss of federal funding and accreditation due to poor management. I pray that God grants a miracle for this school because it is a part of the largest consortium of HBCUs in the nation. To lose one would be like losing a family member.

  • tt

    so sad, another black school going to ruins

  • http://teachermrw.com teachermrw

    I agree. But no amount of help from alums, celebs, etc. will assist mismanagement, fraud, and the like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/africanamericanwarroom AfricanAmerican WarRoom

    Go to change.org to sign Petition to save Morris Brown College and for address/info to donate at least $1.00 or whatever you can afford to save one of America’s HBCUs.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/save-morris-brown-college

  • http://pinkpantiesandleopardlipstick.wordpress.com PinkPantiesandLeopardLipstick

    So sad… I swear this school stays in trouble… I remember hearing stuff when I was school, (early 2000′s). I knew I wanted to go to a HBCU from young, and Morris Brown was on that list…. This is so sad…

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