Mediation Attempted to Resolve Thirteen Year Old Case in Maryland
Tuesday, September, 17, 2019
The lawsuit brought by a coalition of historically black colleges and universities was sent to court-ordered mediation recently, but ended without a resolution. The lawsuit was filed due a dispute over fair funding sought by the coalition. They are asking that there be a level playing with other non-black colleges and universities in Maryland.
The original case was filed in 2006 when the coalition claimed the state was being discriminatory against black colleges by underfunding them. According to the lawsuit, traditional state schools were able to create new degree programs that duplicated what students could attain at the historically black schools. The coalition further argued that what the state did put pressure on enrollment at the institutions.
The coalition asked that the state merge Morgan State, Maryland’s largest public historically black school, with the University of Baltimore. In 2013, the state was found to be in violation of the 14th Amendment rights of attendees at the state’s historically black colleges. According to the ruling, “Maryland continues to operate vestiges of a de jure system of segregation specifically by continuing a longstanding practice of duplicating academic programs offered at HBCU’s, rather than investing in making the HBCU programs attractive to a diverse range of students.”
There was a mediation attempt in 2017 that failed and parties were ordered back to court. A new mediation attempt was ordered in January 2019.
According to one person familiar with the case and in support of the effort by historically black universities who was speaking to Maryland Matters, “What we are hoping for is that this case can get resolved not too long from now and that the HBCUs will be in a more competitive place.”