“What do you love about Morgan State University? What don’t you love?” These were the questions presented to a packed room of students by the sophomore class senators in an event called “The Reflection.”
The goal of the meeting was to provide a space for students to share constructive criticism as well as solutions to daily campus issues. Student Government Association (SGA) president Marcus Bennett and vice-president Joy Barnes were among many student government members and students in attendance.
For some in attendance, their time at Morgan really made them grow to love it more.
“When people graduate, they’re always coming back,” said Sean McBean, the current Mr. Sophomore for the university royal court. “People who’ve been through Morgan come back and give back. That’s what I love about Morgan.”
“I like that departments are now requiring that students get experience/internships the semester before they graduate,” said Averi M. Turner, a senior business administration/health education major. “It helps you get your foot in the door when it comes to your career.”
“When you get into college, you do need tough professors, and a lot of the time they’ll get on your nerves,” explained Brandon Holmes, a senator who helped put the meeting together, “but nevertheless I do have professors who you can stop by during their office hours and see how they’re doing. Just the different bonds you make along the way.”
The conversation eventually shifted to improvements the university needs to make. Students voiced a multitude of concerns: incompetent security, limited access to Bearcard machines, dorm break-ins and, most notably, frustrating experiences with financial aid staff.
One student, Kierra Owens, had a particularly rough experience with the housing department.
“I was in contact with the housing department, because I can’t get on campus unless I had a place to stay,” said Owens, a sophomore psychology major. “I had no way of getting back to [the director] or him getting back to me, because he was sick, or wasn’t here, for three weeks. For it to be so close to the beginning of the school year and there’s no one in your place doesn’t seem acceptable or responsible.”
Another problem people have with the campus is a lack of school spirit, and some, like Christian Jones, believe there needs to be a change of attitude among upperclassmen.
“As soon as [the freshmen] got here, all I hear [from the upperclassmen] is, ‘This sucks, screw Morgan,’” said Jones, a freshman architecture major. “Other people are really going to follow the leaders; if everyone else is saying screw Morgan, it’s hard to bring that school spirit by yourself as a freshman.”
SGA’s chief of staff agrees with Jones and believes students should get more involved with their community.
“I feel like we lack passion when we realize we won’t get something out of it,” explained Destiny Butler. “A lot of these organizations will go do things just to get an award. If you’re at an HBCU, you’re supposed to be doing something to impact your community. Understand why you’re there and use your place of power because that influence can change the entire dynamics of a university.”
While there were complaints, students did continue to sing praises for their school, and for events like this to help improve the quality of the campus.
“My hope is that [the issues I raised] get fixed, because I’m voicing my concerns to people who have the opportunity to voice them to higher-ups,” explained Owens.
“I had conversations with Dr. Banks before about working with him and other people on how to better Morgan as a campus,” Jones said. “We as a student body and faculty need to come together more and make more moves. [Events like these] definitely inspire me to talk more to SGA and keep getting involved.”