Maryland HBCUs Offered $100 Million Settlement To Compete With PWI

Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan offered $100 million over 10 years to historically black universities, attempting to end a long-running lawsuit over whether the state caused segregation at historically black institutions by allowing predominantly white universities to duplicate successful programs.

See article: Maryland HBCUs Win Lawsuit End Inequality Funding

The settlement proposal is more than twice an amount offered earlier in the case, which stretches back to 2006, The Washington Post reported. Governor Larry Hogan offered the proposal Wednesday, a day after a federal judge granted a temporary reprieve as the state appeals an order from November. The November order would have created new high-demand programs at Maryland’s four historically black institutions and forced funding for them under court supervision.

It represents a serious, multi-year commitment which we believe goes well beyond what the law requires,” legal counsel Robert Scholz wrote in a letter to legislative Black caucus chair Del. Cheryl D. Glenn this week.

In 2006, four HBCUs — Bowie State, Coppin State, Morgan State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore — filed suit against the state accusing it of running a segregated university system. Critics argued that well-funded academic programs at predominately white institutions underscored similar programs at HBCUs, denying the latter a fair shot at attracting a diverse student body.

Attorneys for the four HBCUs argued the state should foot the bill in helping the schools develop new and advanced academic programs, according to the newspaper. The state tried to go another route, however, offering $50 million to support marketing and scholarships aimed at boosting diversity at historically Black schools.

Judge Catherine C. Blake, who in 2013 ruled the state’s actions perpetuated segregation, didn’t like either group’s proposals. So, she appointed a “special master” to help the groups devise a plan focused on creating unique, high demand programs at the historic institutions. The state just took a major step in making that a reality.

“It’s a very legitimate offer,” Glenn said, calling it a “tremendous victory” for the state’s HBCUs. “It gets us to the table. I hesitate to say with any finality whether this is the end of it or not. The devil is in the details and this settlement really needs to be spelled out in detail.”

HBCU advocates are saying that this is a step in the right direction, however just picking a number (the settlement amount) isn’t the end of the process, which I agree I feel that it’s only the beginning and it’s going to of course take time to fully see results, but as long as there is a team of likeminded individuals the process should go smoothly. What are your thoughts ?

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