In a matter that could go as far as to the U.S. Supreme Court, a District Court judge in Maryland has mandated the state to correct inequality in public higher education funding among its four historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Judge Catherine Blake’s order prohibits the state from “maintaining vestiges of the prior … system of segregation in the form of unnecessary program duplication in the public higher education system.”
For the next five to 10 years, the state must appoint an independent monitor to create programs and annual funding to the schools for student recruitment, marketing, financial aid and other necessities.
Students who attended a recent rally at Coppin State University contend that low state funding fosters segregation is blatantly unfair and promotes policies that allow non-HBCUs to duplicate their specialty programs.
“Our education matters, our HBCUs matter,” rally organizer Chenedu Nwokeafor said at gathering.
The state’s four HBCUs are Coppin, Morgan State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the “historic remedial order” that stems from a dispute that began more than a decade ago will strengthen Maryland’s HBCUs and achieve overdue racial desegregation and equitable outcomes for students.