Tuesday, May 26, 2009

  Subject:  Message from President Franklin
"The Soul of Morehouse and the Future of the Mystique"

President's Town Hall Meeting
Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
11 a.m.

(The following is an excerpt from prepared remarks delivered by Dr. Robert M. Franklin to the students of Morehouse College.)

...I'd like to address a subject that is vital to every man of Morehouse, namely,
the soul of Morehouse and the future of the Mystique.

I have tried to translate the mystique into terms more comprehensible to the
public. So, you have heard my vision language on many occasions and many of
you have already begun to interpret and apply this vision in creative ways. Here
is the vision in eight simple words:

Renaissance Men with social conscience and global perspective.

Morehouse produces such leaders in a very special kind of community; we call
it "The Brotherhood." ... [The Morehouse Mystique] is a distinctive and
mysterious bond between good men that strengthen us when we're together and
sustains us when we're apart and until we meet again. It is captured in rituals
like the College hymn. Show me one other college that sings its hymn in a
manner where a mystical bond seems to radiate above and within the members.
This is Morehouse. It cannot be reduced to words or data.

But after two years, I have learned something that I did not [know] before. One of the critical ingredients in the Morehouse mystique is a fundamental sense of discontent with mediocrity and nonsense. Morehouse men bond around their complaints about how Morehouse often functions or 'dysfunctions.' In other
words, you cannot be a Morehouse Man in the making-a Renaissance Man
with social conscience and global perspective-unless you are uneasy about the human condition. I want each of you to have a healthy impatience with the
status quo. And I will declare at every Morehouse commencement that
Morehouse men must be so sensitive to the presence of disorder, mediocrity and
injustice that they cannot sleep well at night until they tip the scale toward
justice. Unto whom much is given, much is required.


But today, our soul is sick and our mystique is threatened. Not for want of more financial resources. We have never had enough money. (And, it is amazing that we continue to produce Ivy League results with HBCU resources.) Nor is the
mystique threatened by what the Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called
"discrepancies between our rhetoric and our reality." Every institution has its
discrepancies and gaps in quality and performance. My administration is fully
committed to eradicating and alleviating Morehouse discrepancies and I trust
that you see evidence of progress?.
Our soul is threatened by the presence of a few people inside and outside the
Morehouse village who are spiritually ill and disoriented. So, I'd like to speak
very directly to those men and women, but primarily to men of Morehouse. As
all of you listen to these remarks, I want you to do two things: first, help us to
disseminate this message widely, especially to our brothers who were unable or unwilling to join the president in this historic chapel meeting?.
Second, to those who have not yet committed to the Renaissance and renewal of Morehouse, I want you to listen and make a decision about whether you should
remain at Morehouse. I know that a few of you are enrolled because it was mama's or daddy's dream. But, if it isn't your dream, you should exercise the discernment and the courage to transfer to a more suitable environment. There are a lot of schools out there that would love to have a young man who qualified for admission to Morehouse. And remember that there are thousands
of brothers out there who did not receive a Morehouse admission letter.


On this day, April 21st, I want to set forth and clarify the expectations of the
Morehouse Renaissance. This date is pregnant with meaning. According to
tradition and myth, on April 21, 753 B.C., Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, founded Rome, perhaps the first great international city, the first world house. Today, I use that event to symbolize the groundbreaking of a renewed Morehouse as world house.

I have articulated five attributes of the Renaissance Man. My staff calls them the
"Five Wells." Well read, spoken, traveled, dressed and balanced. (To remember
them in order, remember that "R,S,T" are consecutive letters of the alphabet.
You're on your own for remembering the final "D" and "B.") I want to highlight
three of these today: reading (or the life of the mind), speech and dress.

· Well-read. You have seen that HBCUs face a crisis of graduating students, especially black men. In many schools, less than 29% of the men enrolled graduate within six years. This year, Morehouse is reporting a rate of 67%, which is exceptional to most people-but not
good enough for Morehouse. Last week, at the student election debate, I
heard a candidate announce an initiative called "GOT: Graduate On Time." Perhaps more parents should follow the model of elite institutions that award scholarships. They pay for eight semesters, period, and only if the student maintains a 3.0 GPA.

· Last week, the College honored several hundred men who earned a place on the Honor Roll at Morehouse College. Recently, a record was set as 688 students (out of our 2,600 total) earned the distinction of Dean's List placement. I challenged all of my students to aim for this honor and then
to aim higher. But, if you need assistance, be man enough to ask for help rather than fail a course. Our teachers are smart, but most of them cannot read your mind or follow the games some students play to pass courses without really learning much.

· It gives me heartburn to mention this topic, but there is the matter of academic dishonesty. During my time here, we heard the joke, 'All work and no plagiarism make for dull papers.' Some of you are smart, but not as smart as you think. We know about using technology to cheat, about
texting answers into exams. Brothers, someone is paying for a Morehouse education. Shouldn't you be trying to get it? Do the right thing.

· I have seen too many students standing in lines wasting time. You should carry something to read and make good use of your down time. Read books, not just summaries of books. Choose an accomplished and prolific writer as a role model. But just as important-if not more-study grammar and syntax and the art of composition. General Education at
Morehouse seeks to teach and encourage you to apply these fundamental
rules. Learn the power of accurately constructed sentences and wellpositioned

· It matters how well you write. Each of you must be able to write a solid personal statement for a job, graduate application or a fellowship. Once you have been accepted into the prestigious programs, it is crucial to be able to write flawless research papers, theses and dissertations. And on an ongoing basis, your written communications with superiors and
colleagues in the workplace are of even more importance. I do not want
employers or professors to call us and ask, 'How did Morehouse graduate
a student who writes so poorly?'

· If you are not learning, if you need a tutor, ask for help. Morehouse provides tutors and we are about to establish a more comprehensive mentoring program inspired by a student-led movement called
Resurgence of the Crown ...

· ... The Renaissance Man is well-spoken. He chooses his words carefully. This reduces the necessity of relying on profanity or empty verbal placeholders like, 'um, um, ahh?' or nonsense like 'you know what I'm saying, you know what I'm saying?'

· Strive to have something valuable to say, and be in possession of elegant words and phrases that allow you to effectively communicate complex emotions and ideas. Profanity does not reflect your verbal grace and style. It suggests a lazy mind and is contrary to the Morehouse ideal?


· In the matter of violence. Morehouse will be a campus of peace and justice. We will be a violence-free zone... We have an excellent judicial council and it will continue to render decisions in student misconduct
cases. But, I intend to take a personal interest in brothers who try to resolve conflict by violent means ...

· In the matter of gender relations, Morehouse will be a community that
respects women. We will be a community of zero tolerance for sexual abuse, date rape, prostitution, pimping and other forms of illegal behavior...

· In the matter of customer service and professionalism, Morehouse will
operate in accord with the best practices of a selective, private college. I have heard your call for improved customer service. It is outrageous to learn that occasionally a faculty or staff member has behaved in ways that fall below Morehouse standards. We will not tolerate this. But, at the same time, we expect every one of you to show respect to all faculty and staff.

· It is unacceptable to be demanding or demeaning, threatening or challenging, insulting or inflammatory. We are here to meet your needs, but the staff and faculty are not obligated to yield to rudeness ...

· The other issue concerns our campus and its conservation efforts. We are becoming a greener Morehouse. We will improve utilization of energyefficient light bulbs and paper recycling. I want to thank students and alumni for working with my team to accomplish this.

· As for our attractive ambience, we employ the services of professionals to help maintain the grounds of the campus... We have a collective responsibility to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of our dorm rooms, classrooms, bathrooms and the entire campus. If I can stoop to pick up trash, may I ask that you do the same?

· After all of the filth and trash that the slave system forced us to endure, how
can we deliberately litter our campus with flyers and handbills? I have asked
our General Counsel to prepare a legal communication to the companies that
are employing people to dump handbills on our campus grounds....


In the matter of diversity, Morehouse will be a safe, respectful campus that
balances personal liberty with the responsibility of membership in a moral
community. Morehouse is blessed with a variety of diversity assets. You hail from
43 different states and 27 different countries. You are diverse in ethnicity and race, region, socio-economic background, culture, religion, political loyalty and personal interest. But all of you can and will become Renaissance Men. As an all-male institution with the explicit mission of educating men with disciplined minds, perhaps the great challenge of this moment in history is our diversity of sexual orientation... Part of our greatness lies in our ability to accept men of quality who wish to uphold the Morehouse mystique. We do not pry into a person's private identity; nor do we wish to have identity paraded in an undignified manner. We do demand that everyone aspire to high ethical standards and responsible community behavior. Identity must always square with, and yield to,ethics.

...I have appointed a committee on Diversity and Tolerance to review the
effectiveness of what we have done and are currently doing. You will hear more in
the fall. But, let me be clear: three basic principles will govern our life together in
this moral community:

1. The principle of safety and security. Anthropologist Abraham Maslow
has observed that if people do not feel secure, not much else will matter.
Every student, staff and faculty member must feel safe and secure in the
Morehouse community...

2. The principle of diversity. It is a privilege to study and live in a diverse
community. People often assume that an HBCU is less diverse than other
majority institutions. Well, I've been a student and taught at majority
institutions and they are hardly more diverse than Morehouse. We have a
small percent of non-African American men. Most majority schools have
a small percent of nonwhite students.

· Since we are unique, why don't we use this opportunity to model something our community needs... Straight men should learn more about the outlooks and contributions of gay men. Read a book by a gay author. Have an intelligent conversation with a gay neighbor. At a time when it was truly scandalous to have homosexual friends or associates, Dr. King
looked to Bayard Rustin, a black gay man, as a trusted adviser. And, Malcolm X regarded James Baldwin, a black gay man, as a brilliant chronicler of the black experience. To my straight brothers, diversity at Morehouse is an opportunity that can enrich your education if you are
courageous enough to seize the pportunity. We cannot force you, but we invite you to learn from your environment.

3. The principle of decorum. Decorum is a Latin word that means orderly,
dignified, becoming and handsome...

· Here, I offer a word about being well-dressed, the fourth of the "Well" attributes. I have not desired to be overly prescriptive about this. You do not have to wear a tie and jacket to class, although no one
would object to it. You're a college student. You can enjoy yourself while wearing comfortable clothing that respects the fact that you are part of a community of educated and ethical men...

· We cannot monitor what you wear when you leave campus, but while you are on the Morehouse campus, in the presence of adult learners, do not sag your pants, do not show your undergarments.
Do not wear do-rags, and do not wear baseball caps in class or in
the cafeteria...

· And, to those who would experiment with wearing clothing associated with a women's garb (dresses, tunics, purses and
pumps) I am directing that you not exhibit these items on the Morehouse campus. Wear what you wish to off campus. But, while you are here on the ground where Mays and Martin and Maynard walked, those items are off limits. A man in women's clothing on campus is provocative and will not be tolerated.

I want to establish a culture of high expectation and encouragement, not one of
enforcement and harassment. But, I ask you to work with me to restore the
Morehouse that our mothers and fathers prayed and sighed for.


So, in summary, I want to say that Morehouse is your house. You must take
responsibility for its excellence.
...If you cannot follow the guidelines of a moral community, then leave. Change
your behavior or separate from this college.
...If you want to be part of something rare and noble, something that the world has
not often seen-a community of educated, ethical, disciplined black men more
powerful than a standing army-then you've come to the right place...
Up you mighty men of Morehouse, you aristocrats of spirit, you can
accomplish what you will!

Monday, May 11, 2009

No Food

So, as I was driving home from college with my folks, they tell me that they don't cook anymore.  I think, ya watever.  

I get home, and there's NO food in the fridge.  I mean, ya there's like...onions, ketchup, strawberries, etc., but nothing that can really make a meal.  Nothin in the pantry except for dingdongs.  I don't think there's even any ramen.  It's crazy.

Sooo, I bought a cookbook.  Probly not the BEST investment, but I need to learn how y cook.  I'm probably gonna have my own spot eventually anyways.  Can't depend on Morehouse for food my whole life...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back in the Library

So, the end of the year is quickly approaching
I'm in Woody, trying to write a paper, but of course I'm not writing the paper. But that's woody for ya....
It's kinda funny how the one library in the WHOLE AUC barely has any books, and isn't really a study library, bcuz people don't really study in here.  I've never seen someone just...SO into the books thatt they won't take time to have a conversation.  I just had one, and I'm in the quiet room.  Oh well.

I was watchin Sportscenter earlier, and I noticed that Lebron James is a BEAST.  Congrats on the MVP.

AND, because the housing department put me in Graves next year, and doesn't want to transfer me somewhere else for now, I'm looking for a place off campus.  Ya, I could have the single in Graves and pay nothing, but i'd much just pay the extra cash, and have my own place.  Probably gonna room with my boy Darrell.

I'm excited for the summer.  internship with ALDI.  I just need to write this letter confirming my acceptance of the offer, and I'm good.

Now to leave you with something to think about.... From

The Great African Booty Strike

When I first read about the women of Nairobi going on some kind of “sex strike,” I thought it was the dumbest, ugliest thing I'd heard all week. Not only is it stupid, it props up this ugly myth about black men, that we are only motivated by our penises.  I have never, ever read anything about white women putting on some kind of Booty Strike in the name of politics or anything else – at least, not successfully. Who is the nitwit who thought sex deprivation would motivate men into political discourse?

What's more likely is, the Great African Booty Strike will end up with alot of brothers in the clinic, burning like Heat Miser with diseases they contracted while tricking-off with prostitutes. Or other kinds of infidelity will run rampant. Nairobi has a healthy population of women and Sisters, just FYI, it’s like noted feminist and champion for women’s rights Millie Jackson used to say, “what you won’t do, another woman will.” Truer words have never been spoken. Depriving a man of sex is like taking a twig from a bird: take it, because there are so many others, just lying around, waiting to be picked up. Maybe the brothers in Nairobi don't know this and are dumber, on average, than Black American men. But I doubt it.

Maybe I should put my African homies up on some game. Listen up.

See, I hear tales of women right here in the States who try to motivate men by withholding sex, or using sex to barter favor.  We even have a term for women who behave like that:  “single.” I have never had a woman try that maneuver on me, because they know, as it stands, I have to farm out all my extra play: I got an intern handling my run-off.*  So any woman that even tried that with me would know I wouldn’t miss a stroke. No ma’am.  The key is to make sure SHE’LL miss it more than YOU will, Japhi-Jopher. Anytime you are slave to the flesh, you are subject to get stole on. So if brothers in the Motherland are all strung out like that, they need to get some game in their lives. Seriously.

But, as always, I’m willing to admit that I may have it wrong.  Maybe withholding sex or using sex to motivate behavior works. What do you think?

Does using sex to motivate behavior work? Should women – or anyone—be bartering with sex?

*may be a slight exaggeration

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In history class...

yep.  I'm writing this in history class....

We're talking about the Civil Rights Movement...

I find it kind of amusing in realizing how I felt about things back in high shcool, and how I feel about them now.  For example, last week we discussed W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.  In high school, I was the strongest supporter of DuBois's ideas.  But now, after coming to Morehouse, I realize that I've really adopted some aspects of Booker T. Washington.  While I don't believe in giving up political rights, I do believe that Blacks need to establish some sort of wealth in order to get respect in America.  With that wealth will come significant political power.  I don't necessarily feel that a Talented Tenth would get respect for the whole race.  While Barack Obama and several other extremely successful people in America have gained some respect for the race, Blacks are still subject to discrimination.

So anyways...
School's coming to a close.  There are lots of parties over the next couple of days.  The library's been packed with people lately, and it's only going to get worse when people can study...or not study...around the clock.  I've tried to not become stressed over my grades.  I think I'll do somewhat well.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So...i'm slowly becoming nocturnal.

I don't know what I'm STILL doing up...

But I found this cool video on youtube.  It's a guy showing where alot of the popular samples in hip hop have come from.


Tom Scott's solo in "Today" is phenomenal.  Here's a link...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sumthin that concerned me

Today was a good day.  The sun was out, classes weren't bad, I got to spend some time with some great people from a leadership group that I'm in, and I got some new information on melanin.  After leaving a meeting around 9 o'clock with a buddy of mine, Paul Sheehy, I decided to get some Subway.  I handn't eaten since lunch, and wanted something healthy.  SOOO....I go there in a suit and tie, and the guys behind the counter start mockin me and Paul because we're dressed up...........I still don't understand this dislike of people dressing nicely.  I know it's not central to the Black community, but I feel that Blacks should really appreciate a brother dressing nicely, because he's more than likely doing something positive.  But that's not what I want to write about....

When I get to the door to let myself out, I see two elderly women on the other side of the door.  These women looked as if they were terrified of me and Paul.  I open the door, and position myself to hold the door open, and Paul does the same from inside the store.  The women slid inside, and then said thank you.  The women seemed genuinely afraid of us.  And not just afraid that we would say call them some terrible name and ruin their day, but afraid as though we would grab them before they could make it through the door and carry them to our car caveman style to do whatever to them.  They seemed that they couldn't trust us.  It's something that I notice often while in Atlanta.  Women seem to fear Black men.  Not just Black women, but all women.  I'm not saying there's no reason for this, especially with all of the things Black men have been accused of, but i believe that at least Black women should have no fear of Black men.  The fact that those women were afraid of Paul and me, in Subway, is a problem to me.  I had just gotten a white macadamia nut cookie.  But the situation did make me think.  I hope that in my life, I create a loving, or welcoming, persona for women, and that women never feel a need FEAR me.  Respect me, yes.  And even though there are people that say that fear can be a good thing at times, I honestly feel that fear should never be something that Black women should feel from men of their own ethnicity.  Really, I find it terrible that women feel a need to fear men without knowing anything about them, but i especially find it to be a problem amongst Blacks.

Just a thought.