Maryland Puts Towson University Ph.D. Program Opposed by Morgan State University on Hold

In June, the Maryland Higher Education Commission by a vote of 4 to 3 approved the establishment of a business analytics doctoral program at Towson University. The new program was opposed by officials at historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore. In a letter to state lawmakers, Morgan State President Wilson said the new program duplicated a well-established program at Morgan State. The new program, he argues, would pull students who would have enrolled at Morgan State to Towson University.

But now Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown has nullified the state commission’s decision to let Towson University establish a Ph.D. program. The Attorney General was not acting upon objections of Morgan State officials but merely stated that the Maryland Higher Education Commission did not have enough members present when it voted to overturn a decision by Emily Dow, an assistant secretary of academic affairs at the commission, to deny Towson University’s request to create a doctoral program in business analytics.

In a statement, the attorney general said that “the vote was of no legal effect, and the Secretary’s decision remains in place for the time being. As I read the Commission’s regulations, the Commission is likely required to meet again and attempt to resolve Towson’s request for review, with the requisite number of votes for a decision one way or the other.”

Sean Welsh, a vice president at Towson University, stressed the differences between the schools’ programs in a statement to the Baltimore Banner. Welsh wrote: “As we have since the start, TU will continue to follow the process and guidance outlined by MHEC. The finding of this administrative error on MHEC’s part does not indicate that TU’s STEM-based Business Analytics Ph.D. program is in any way duplicative of any other program, nor does it have any impact upon the merits for the program’s approval. We remain absolutely committed to supporting those students who have, in good faith, enrolled in this program as classes are set to begin. When students lose opportunities, there are no winners.”

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