A Message from the UMES National Alumni President
Dear Fellow Alumni,
On behalf of the UMES National Alumni Association, I extend a heartfelt greeting to our alumni membership. It has been a pleasure to serve as your President of the National Alumni Association. More importantly, it has been an honor to work with my fellow Executive Board of Directors, Chapter Presidents and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Administration.
This past year has been met with significant global challenges including coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing racial tensions, a resounding declaration that “Black Lives Matter,” and continued police brutality. Through unchartered waters, our UMES Community has remained optimistic, supportive and resourceful. As alumni, I ask that we continue to lend encouragement and support as we welcome the future class of 2024 alumni to our campus. I also plead that as Alumni, we continue our thirteen-year fight for equitable resources and cessation of duplicate programs on traditional white institution (TWI) campuses.
Moreover, as Alumni, we have been faced with many challenges this year. Yet, we still have hope, we exercise sound faith and we continue to work towards equitable solutions to vacate the harsh economic disparity that four HBCU Maryland Universities have experienced throughout its existence.
This winter, Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education sought a remedy to settle the thirteen-year legal battle against the State. The results were favorable as evidenced by the nearly unanimous votes of the Maryland Senate and House of Representatives.
Unfortunately, Republican Governor, Lawrence Hogan vetoed the bill that would fund a settlement of five hundred billion dollars over a period of ten years for the four HBCU Campuses. Governor Hogan, raised the economic damages experienced by COVID-19 was the major factor in his decision. The Governors decision to veto our bill does not signal its defeat. The Maryland Legislature can overturn the veto when the Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislative reconvenes in January 2021. In the event the case can’t be settled, we still have the opportunity to have the 4th Circuit Court decide a remedy.
So, don’t give up, we still have options available to us to settle this 13-year litigation and provide approximately $100,000,000.00 over a period of ten years to our alma mater. These monies will be used to build up the Universities infrastructure so that we will have an opportunity to compete on a level and equal playing field.
Lastly, our campus has experienced a continuing decrease of student enrollment and student retention. For the sixth consecutive year, UMES has experienced a painful decline. Additionally, there has been a mass exodus of talented faculty and administrators who worked under previous administrations that possessed a treasure trove of professional experience and “Hawk Persona.” With each departure of a valued Administrator or Faculty member, our students miss a nurtured life-long opportunity.
As alumni, we must remain diligent in letting the state know we are a valuable educational institution within the University System and we deserve equitable resources, a robust inventory of well- funded, well-developed, unique and highly competitive academic programs which are offered by highly qualified faculty in highly attractive facilities to well supported (financial aid) students.
To this end, our students will be afforded the opportunity to reflect a balance between the best prepared and those requiring academic support. It is that balance that results in increased retention and graduation rates.
I still believe this is achievable. It will take your continued involvement and support to reach this goal. I encourage you to remain actively involved, support the alumni association, the UMES administration, and most importantly our students.
In closing, this is election year 2020. You will receive election information under separate cover. I strongly encourage each of you to remain steadfast in supporting your local chapters and keeping your membership current.
Yes, something extraordinary happened on the UMES campus…. You!
With Hawk Pride and Spirit,
Deborah Hayman’ 76
UMES NAA, President