Attorneys in Maryland HBCU Lawsuit Write Editorial on State Failure to Make HBCUs Equitable
Attorneys Michael Jones and Jon Greenbaum recently penned an editorial for the Baltimore Sun discussing Maryland’s failure to make its four HBCUs equitable with the remainder of its PWI colleges and universities.
The State struck an agreement with the federal Office of Civil Rights in 2000, pledging to fund HBCUs to the highest levels that would erase vestiges of discriminatory and serparatist systems of higher ed between African-American and white college students. The lawsuit is being brought by members of Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, in benefit of Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Jones and Greenbaum are counsel for the Coalition.
The report called upon Maryland to remedy the inequality caused by underfunding of the HBCUs: “What is most important at this juncture is for the Commission to remedy both the lack of comparability” and then to “restructure the process that has caused the inequities and lack of competitiveness between the HBIs and the traditionally white institutions.” The report makes the case that enhancing the HBCUs would be a good investment for Maryland, even in a recession, because of the vital role played by Maryland’s HBCUs.
Demographic shifts in Maryland’s population will only elevate the contribution of Maryland’s HBIs in increasing access to higher education. According to the 2009 State Plan for Higher Education, minority students are expected to constitute a growing share of Maryland’s high school graduates enrolling in college. “Because HBIs award a high percentage (45 percent) of the degrees earned by Maryland minority students, and a relatively high percentage of their graduates are first-generation college students, one important aspect of ensuring equal opportunity for a diverse Maryland population is to provide enhancement funding to HBIs.” (Baltimore Sun)