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Morris Brown Trustees Appoint Chemistry Professor as Acting President

Morris Brown Trustees Appoint Chemistry Professor as Acting President
Dr. Charles E. Taylor resigns following lost accreditation bid


Losing a bid to win back its accreditation, historically Black Morris Brown College is also losing its president. Dr. Charles E. Taylor, resigned a week after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools released a letter denying the college’s appeal to restore its accreditation.

Morris Brown’s board of trustees last month accepted Taylor’s resignation and appointed a chemistry professor, Dr. Leroy Frazier, as acting president of a school facing a debt of about $27 million.

SACS’ decision disqualified students for federal financial aid. Nearly 90 percent of the private school’s 2,500 students relied on that aid. Since first losing accreditation in December because of a lack of financial stability, only half the students enrolled in the fall actually attended the school (see Black Issues, April 24).

Morris Brown, which is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, reduced its spring semester to just seven weeks so graduating seniors could earn degrees before the appeal.

Administrators have promised to keep the school open and reapply for accreditation. School officials said they have raised nearly $5 million of a short-term debt of $10 million. However, the U.S. Department of Education is investigating whether the college fraudulently received and spent federal student aid.

Taylor was named president in September. He replaced Dr. Dolores Cross, who resigned in February 2002.

Frazier has been at Morris Brown for 17 years. He has held several administrative positions, including executive vice president and provost. He recently was named to lead the re-accreditation effort.

“We are pleased that Dr. Frazier has agreed to serve in the interim, and we are confident that based on his vast experience and active involvement as the college’s SACS compliance officer that he will prove to be quite an asset,” said the board chairman, AME Bishop Frank C. Cummings.

Taylor was president of Wilberforce University in Ohio from 1976 to 1984. He left to take a management job with British Petroleum Co. and in recent years has run an executive search firm focusing on historically Black colleges and universities.


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