The University of Maryland University College will not be allowed to offer Maryland students a community college administration degree, state education officials ruled Oct. 21, siding with arguments raised by Morgan State University that the online program would duplicate efforts at the historically black college, reports the Baltimore Sun. A majority of the Maryland Higher Education Commission backed an earlier ruling by Secretary of Education James E. Lyons, who had denied UMUC’s request on the grounds that its proposed course of doctoral study would unnecessarily duplicate a unique program at Morgan, thus violating civil-rights precedents set by the U.S. Supreme Court. UMUC had appealed that decision to the commission Oct. 14. The commission also supported Lyons’ decision that UMUC be allowed to offer its program to students from out of state. William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the state university system, said he was "very, very disappointed" in the ruling. "It’s hard to understand how, in the age of the internet, you can restrict access to an online program in this way," he said. The case has attracted the notice of educators across the country because of its potential implications for the conflict between traditional and online programs. Lyons has said the decision to turn down UMUC’s request is not a far-reaching one and speaks only to this particular conflict with Morgan. The Supreme Court has traditionally opposed the duplication of programs at historically black universities, arguing that it promotes segregation…

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