Balancing image with information at Morgan

The MSU Spokesman

On Sunday September 23, 2012, Morgan State University sophomore Darian Hicks was found dead in the back of his car from an apparent drug overdose. His lifeless body was discovered in front of Marble Hall Gardens, an apartment complex that Morgan students share with Baltimore locals.

Typically, news of death, violence, crime or foul play that occurs in the Morgan community spreads quickly. However, it wasn’t until a week after Hicks’ death and, coincidentally, the day of his homegoing service that most students learned of his untimely passing. “I didn’t know anything about Darian. I didn’t know how he died, nothing,” Morgan State senior Shalonta Bowman said. “Morgan didn’t send out an email, I found out over Twitter!”

Many students wondered why communicating with the community was so hard for the MSU administration.  “[Morgan] tells us what we need to know to make it seem like they’re doing their job,” said Morgan junior Myshawne Stallings.

Students like Stallings and Bowman insist the University is primarily concerned with its image, arguing that informing students should be the primary goal of school administrators. “I feel like if they messed up, they wouldn’t tell us that part,” Stallings insisted.

MSU President Dr. David Wilson sparked a controversy on the heels of a campus shooting this fall by trying to distance the school from the violence. “We know that the victim was not a student at Morgan,” the President assured the community in an email. “We also have reason to believe that the suspect, who is still being sought by Baltimore City Police, is not a student.”

Other situations regarding crimes or police raids are not reported by the University.

For example, on the early morning of Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, witnesses say a team of police, who were believed to be the D.E.A, raided a building in Morgan View Apartments, a complex occupied by Morgan students and staff. They were allegedly looking for a drug dealer on campus. Onlooker and Baltimore native Kenneth Wilks was visiting a friend at the time and saw it all go down. “Man, they were everywhere,” said Wilks.  It was me and a couple other people just standing outside watching them as a ton of them marched into the building.  They had to be looking for somebody.”

Still, students who were not eye-witnesses remained in the dark. This attitude is not taken at other universities. Sekinah Brodie, a senior at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, said that students at her school know about every single incident that happens anywhere around campus. “Here at Montclair State University school administration and department heads send around a mass email to all students informing them of any incidents that occur ranging from death to rape to assault,” Brodie said.  When asked if deaths or even small crimes that occur off campus are reported, she asserted, “it doesn’t matter [what the incident], we know everything.”