An advocacy group for historically Black colleges is challenging a Ph.D. physical therapy program at Stevenson University it says is a duplicate of a program offered by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The group also called for a moratorium on the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s granting of programs and reviewing of program applications until a work group of the Maryland General Assembly releases recommendations in December.

Maryland HBCU Advocates previously challenged a proposal for a doctoral program in business analytics at Towson University that they claimed would have duplicated a business administration program at Morgan State University. (In late August, Towson said in a statement it intends to submit a reworked proposal for the program.)

In the latest challenge, Maryland HBCU Advocates said it learned of a “do over” vote, which is scheduled for Wednesday even though the Maryland Higher Education Commission previously rejected a proposal by Stevenson University on April 26.

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The group said in a letter to the commission that according to minutes, there was a quorum with seven members present so “there is no basis for a further vote on the matter.”

John Buettner, the vice president of marketing and digital communications at Stevenson, said in a statement that the school “submitted a proposal to add a third Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program in Maryland in order to expand access for students to pursue the DPT degree and to increase the numbers of providers practicing in Maryland, particularly in underserved communities. We appreciate the efforts of the MHEC staff and commission during the program approval process. We look forward to soon hearing a decision from the commissioners.”

The Maryland Higher Education Commission, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and University of Maryland, Baltimore could not be immediately reached for comment.

John-John Williams IV is a diversity, equity and inclusion reporter at The Baltimore Banner. A native of Syracuse, N.Y. and a graduate of Howard University, he has lived in Baltimore for the past 17 years. 

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