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Faculty Resolution on Student Debt Cancellation

WHEREAS, the student debt crisis in America has become especially acute for Black students and their families, and the debt held by Black college students and graduates today poses a significant threat to economic and public health security in Black communities and beyond and prevents a closing of the racial wealth gap;

WHEREAS, Morehouse College, an historically Black institution with a distinguished history of educating Black men, has experienced firsthand the transformative potential of debt relief in higher education, first through the generous philanthropy of Robert F. Smith, who paid off the entire student loan burden of our 2019 graduating class, and then through the Department of Education’s 2021 discharging of institutional debt held by the College, which has enabled immediate and significant reinvestment in our students, faculty, and educational mission;

WHEREAS, the Morehouse faculty continues to herald the vision of our great alumnus Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who in his landmark 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream,” lamented that for too long the nation has defaulted on its promises to Black communities and “given its colored people a bad check,” but who “refuse[d] to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt” and “refuse[d] to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation”;

WHEREAS, elimination of debt in higher education provides opportunities for the Morehouse faculty to demand support for and reform of higher education, including its debt-financing paradigm, and increase economic and public health security, expand prosperity, create jobs, and save our communities money;

WHEREAS, debt relief as policy is strongly supported across all political parties and across the country, and President Biden was elected in 2020 partly on a campaign promise to eliminate undergraduate tuition-related federal student loan debt for borrowers from public universities and private HBCUs earning up to $125,000 annually;

WHEREAS, across the country various student groups, faculty unions, city councils, and civic organizations have called for student debt cancellation;

WHEREAS, debt cancellation provides immediate relief for students and their families in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, and is an important first step in reforming the nation’s system of higher education and committing to education as a public good;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Morehouse College faculty calls on the federal government to commit to cancelling all federal student loan debt.

 

Introduced on March 15, 2022 by the Faculty Council. Adopted on April 19, 2022