Federal Judge Rules on Maryland Discrimination Suit—Mediation Now Likely Inept
Friday, October, 11, 2013
According to a U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake, the State of Maryland has been found guilty of violating desegregation law through its practices of implementing programs at colleges with a predominantly white student body. Attorneys for historically black colleges within the state are seeking mediation as a way to reach a settlement and attain a fairer distribution of programs.
Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued the following statement: "It's been a long fight with the state of Maryland in this case, and now that we have the ruling, we hope that they're willing to sit down at the table and come up with some effective ways to remedy the constitutional violation.” The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was the plaintiff in the federal discrimination lawsuit.
A spokesperson for Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s governor, defended the state by pointing out that Blake’s ruling emphasized that the state had supplied fair funding capital for operating budgets at the historically black colleges. "In addition,” she said, “we are proud of the multitude of excellent academic programs that exist throughout the state, and we respectfully disagree with the court's conclusions regarding duplication.”
According to Blake’s ruling, the state had worked with historically black colleges to provide unique, high-demand programs to attract white graduates. Unfortunately, according to her opinion, the state had failed to continue that trend. "Rather than building on that progress,” she wrote, “Maryland made very large investments in (traditionally white institutions), particularly newly created Towson and (University of Maryland Baltimore County), that undermined preliminary gains in desegregation. These investments included further duplication of programs at already existing TWIs and creating new public institutions in geographic proximity to existing HBIs."