South Georgians react to college's possible closing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians react to college's possible closing

December 12, 2002

In a week of final exams for students at Morris Brown College, some parents feel the school might have failed a test that will spell it's end, losing accredidation and with it federal financial aid for it's students.

"Want him to be aware that if he continues to go school there and they lost their accredidation it will be pretty much worthless and college isn't cheap," Deborah Jones, parent of a Morris Brown student said.

But for now Jones is somewhat reluctantly supporting her son's desire to stay, partly because of the family's affiliation with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Hundreds of miles away, but not forgotten the Albany alumni chapter of Morris Brown, meets here at the Bethel A.M.E. Church, showing strength not only in numbers but it's support.

"We in South Georgia are committed to institutions of higher learning for the A.M.E. church," Reverend Ernest Morris said. 

Morris Brown was founded in 1885 by the church, making it Georgia's only college started by blacks. Bethel's congregation is praying for the school's future and has made a $2,000 contribution, only problem the school is still $23 million  in debt.

Those problems started even before Dougherty graduate Rodravius Washington was a student there. The school since has replaced it's President and Financial aid director, but still lost it's accredidation.

"I think they could have given a little more time." South Georgians predictions now ranging from the optomisitic, "I believe Morris Brown will rise above it," Rev. Morris said, to the more bleak, "sad that African-American school is closing down," Washington said.

If history is any indicator unfortunately the second might be more accurate, the only other two schools to lose their accredidation in the past 5 years both shut down just a few months later. 

Members of the Albany, Thomasville, and Valdosta alumni chapters will meet at Thomasville's Plaza Restaurant Saturday at noon to figure out how they can help Morris Brown survive.

posted at 6:00 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com

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