Morris Brown Nears the End of the Line.


The school faces a deadline of today to pay $214,000 in previous bills or lose its water service. Interim Morris Brown President Stanley Pritchett said late Monday that the college had about $60,000 toward the debt.

Pritchett said he hopes donors will come forward before 5 p.m. today to cover the full amount or, if that fails, that city officials will accept a partial payment.

Atlanta water officials said over the weekend they will not grant Morris Brown an extension.

“There’s got to be some way for us to get this worked out,” said City Councilman C.T. Martin, who represents portions of southwest Atlanta.

The Rev. C.T. Vivian, a lieutenant of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., spent several hours Monday urging listeners of WAOK-AM to send at least $20 toward the school’s overdue water bills.

Fewer than 200 students are registered for the spring semester.

“We’re asking that we keep these students here,” said Vivian. “These kids would have to go home. They would have lost a year of their lives.”

The college lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2002, largely because of its financial state. The school closed temporarily in December because officials had shut down the water. Service was restored after officials made a $100,000 payment. Some students expressed optimism that Morris Brown will survive.

“It’s just stressful, but I think they’ll get it together,” said Jordan Tobler, a business management major from Atlanta.

Given the school’s recent financial track record, Jordan’s faith seems mostly unfounded. I feel sorry for the students, and I wonder what factored in their decision to stick it out at Morris Brown, especially given the questionable legitimacy of their degrees.

h/t Proper Talks.

UPDATE: Looks like MoBo got a reprieve, and will be allowed to stay open for now. The question, of course, is whether it should. (Thanks for the tip, Angela.)



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • shani-o

    When the accreditation mess first blew up a couple of years ago, I remember hearing a lot of optimism from the students there. My guess is the kids still enrolled feel like they don’t have anywhere else to go, so they might as well stay there and hope for the best.

  • I get the hoping for the best. I just don’t get what evidence they had to do so. The school’s situation had gotten bleaker every six months.

  • Grump

    What are these students being told as far as their options AFTER they finish their degrees? Are they truly clueless or are they misinformed?

  • Grump: I don’t understand the question.

  • rakia

    MoBo’s been on the bubble for years. I don’t know why students go there. Georgia State University is pretty inexpensive if cost is the issue.

  • Grump

    Its a student advising question. Who are advising the last few student at MBC? At an institution that is no longer accredited and is constantly being threatened by closing, who in the adminsitration is holding on to these students?

  • Grump: that’s a great question, now that I get what you’re asking. lol.

  • FYI…they were able to get another extension because they scraped up $150K today. So now they have 30 days to come up with the remaining $65 thousand. I think it’s crazy that civil rights folk would get on the radio and ask the community to pitch in for a school that’s been mismanaged for going on 8 years. It’s putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Seems like it would be a better use of time to collect money for the 150 students to get an affordable education elsewhere.

  • LisaAngelaPamelaRenee

    The institution is not viable. They need to just let it go. It’s unrealistic to think that many donors are going to come through at the last minute. I’d be insulted just by being ASKED to contribute at the last minute. To keep the water on? That sounds like something out of a bad Black comedian’s act. I recognize the historical significance of the school but less than 200 students? They can go elsewhere. Maybe Morris Brown should be appealing to neighboring institutions for some reciprocity so their remaining students can transfer easily (credits, tuition, scholarships and loans) to a school that can pay their basic bills! Sorry to say, but those kids would be better off at a JuCo right now than at MoBo.