Maryland HBCUs Win Investment Inequality Battle Against State

Maryland HBCUs Win Investment Inequality Battle Against State

A federal court told Maryland to correct its public higher education investment disparity between four historically Black colleges and universities and other state institutions, NewsOne reported.

Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a party to the case, called the decision a “historic remedial order…that will strengthen” Maryland’s HBCUs.

She added that the ruling will achieve overdue racial desegregation and “equitable outcomes for students,” NewsOne reported.

The ruling stems from a long-standing dispute that led to litigation in 2006. A coalition of the four state funded HBCUs (Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) maintain that the state has not completely ended racially discriminatory practices.

For example, the HBCUs argue that their schools are at a disadvantage when their most distinctive courses are duplicated at other schools that have better finances and facilities. They also contend that the state continues to underfund them.

In siding with the HBCUs, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake issued an injunction that prohibits Maryland from “maintaining vestiges of the prior . . . system of segregation in the form of unnecessary program duplication in the public higher education system,” the order said, according to NewsOne.

Maryland must appoint an independent monitor to create programs and annual funding to the schools for student recruitment, marketing, financial aid, and other necessities for the next five to 10 years.

Publicly funded HBCUs in several states had not received nearly $57 million of funding, according to a 2013 report from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.

In 2002, a court ordered Mississippi to spend an additional $500 million on its three HBCUs to settle a desegregation lawsuit that was filed 26 years earlier.

The three HBCUs—Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University—have worked to achieve the standards that the state requires, HBCU Digest reported. But Mississippi, however, has failed to follow through on funding.

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