By Michael D. Jones, David Burton, and Earl S. Richardson
Cascading demands for racial justice and equal rights unleashed by the murder of George Floyd led Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford to assert, in a June 3, Washington Post article, that America has reached “a turning point” in addressing racism and inequality in all American institutions.
In his own state, this must include vindicating the constitutional rights of students at the state’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that suffer academic disparities described by Judge Catherine C. Blake as “worse than Mississippi of the 1970s.”
For the past 14 years, HBCU students, faculty and alumni have marched, protested and litigated for justice and equality. Six years ago, Judge Blake ruled against the state, noting that “Maryland had a shameful history of de jure segregation throughout much of the past century. Public higher education opportunities for African Americans were either non-existent or decidedly inferior to the opportunities afforded to white citizens.”
Indeed, the state’s own documents show that it deliberately set up its four black schools to be “inferior in every aspect of their operation.” And as the court noted, Maryland’s own reports show that “the contrast between the amounts of money received by the two racial groups would show, if possible of computation, an enormous differential in favor of the white race.”
Three years ago, Judge Blake ordered the state to provide additional funding for expanded academic programs, scholarships, marketing, and financial aid. But the governor failed to fund the court’s remedial order, and students, faculty and alumni continued to march, protest and litigate. Judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals encouraged the legislature to resolve the case.
And they stepped in. Under the leadership of the state’s first African American Speaker, Adrienne Jones, the legislature overwhelmingly passed an HBCU Equity Bill (129-2 in the House 47-0 in the Senate) that would have appropriated out of the state’s $47.9 billion budget, $57.7 million a year for ten years.
Legislators expressed hope that the governor would see the connection between racial disparities in the state and weak support for HBCUs. Said Senate Sponsor Charles Sydnor: “Our HBCU bill will provide critical resources to our HBCU pre-med programs, as well as Morgan’s public health program, Coppin’s and Bowie’s nursing programs and the pharmacy and other health-related fields at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. All of these academic programs are critically important to addressing the underlying health disparities laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis.”
Similarly, legislators recognized that properly funded black colleges can help address the wealth and income disparities in Maryland by spurring economic development in the communities in which they are located, since, as a United Negro College Fund report notes, every dollar in initial spending by Maryland’s HBCUs generates $1.52 in initial and successive spending in their communities.
But despite the court order and legislative support, Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the HBCU Equity Bill, even while allowing millions to expand thoroughbred racing. A spokesman for the racing industry proclaimed: “This is truly a defining moment in the history of the Maryland thoroughbred racing industry and the state.” Maybe.
The real “defining moment” is the quest for justice and equality for black people and black institutions. Even before the murder of George Floyd and the quest for racial justice was unleashed, the Maryland legislature recognized that funding the court-ordered remedy would remove the stain of being “worse than Mississippi”, help address racial health and wealth disparities in the state and promote economic development in black communities — a true win-win.
An economic downturn that disproportionately hurts black communities is precisely the time to help black colleges out of the hole the state dug. Instead, the governor cut the lifeline extended by the legislators. Even Mississippi recognized that economic downturns are no excuse for ducking constitutional responsibilities. It began its larger HBCU settlement payments during the 2001 recession and continued them during the Great Recession of 2008-09.
The legislature should continue to stay on the right side of history by overriding the governor’s veto. The time for lip service is past. And 14 years of marching, protesting and litigating is enough. It is time to provide justice for Maryland’s HBCUs, to show that: #BlackLivesMatter.
Michael D. Jones is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and executive committee member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; David Burton is president for the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education; Earl Richardson is president emeritus and distinguished professor and research associate at Morgan State University.
© 2020 HBCU Digest Unsubscribe
FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2020
[HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES]
THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES
TO RALLY SUPPORT FOR
H.B.C.U.’S THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES
SEND A STRONG MESSAGE REFLECTING THE
GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS RENDERED
& DEMAND JUSTICE & EQUALITY!
SUPPORT LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED
BECOME FINANCIALLY AND PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
WITH AN H.B.C.U.
ON THIS DAY
DO NOT SUPPORT
THE LOTTERY, OFF TRACK BETTING, SLOTS, GAMBLING, SPORTS BETTING, GAMING, ETC.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day, or the Black Fourth of July, is an American holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865. On this day, after almost two and a half years since the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved African Americans were informed of their liberation from the slavery present in the former Confederate States of America.
MD HBCU’S MATTER COALITION - https://www.mhcdc.net/hbcus
443/255-6056 – 410/669-VOTE – [email protected]
By bmorenews on November 22, 2019
Consolidation Opposition Picket
Thurs., Dec. 19, 2019 (Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Birthdate)
12 noon – 1 pm
University of Baltimore
1420 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
[Pavement in front of building]
Thurs., Dec. 19, 2019
3 pm – 4 pm
Coppin State University
2500 W. North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21216
Parlett L. Moore Library
[Front tier steps]
For more information, call 410.669.VOTE (8683).
By Marvin “Doc” Cheatham and Owen Silverman Andrews
Baltimore Sun |
Nov 14, 2019 | 2:59 PM
This summer, The Sun published dueling op-eds from the presidents of two of Baltimore’s renowned institutions of higher education, proposing new governance structures for certain city institutions of higher education. In the first, University of Baltimore President Kurt Schmoke suggested combining the University of Baltimore (UB), Coppin State University and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) into an entity known as the “City University of Baltimore.” In the second, Morgan State University President David Wilson argued, eloquently, that UB should merge into Morgan.
We appreciate the innovative approaches, but, as community organizers in West and Southeast Baltimore, we believe it is time for a vision from the grassroots level to emerge to guide our city’s colleges and universities into the new decade.
We call for sweeping changes to a status quo that has failed our students and communities and propose that Baltimore City Community College should merge with the Community College of Baltimore County to become the new Community College of Baltimore. This would relieve the fiscal strain caused by city residents seeking community college education in the county due to the separate and unequal conditions between the two schools. To ensure the merger is equitable, the Community College of Baltimore’s Board must be made up of two elected county residents, two elected city residents and three members appointed by the county executive, mayor and governor, respectively.
The benefits of establishing the Community College of Baltimore will be enjoyed by both Baltimore City and Baltimore County students, workers and stakeholders. Current CCBC students, staff and faculty will gain more direct access to the economic engines of Baltimore City’s medical, corporate and cultural institutions, resulting in more internship, job and research opportunities. And current BCCC stakeholders, especially those who live closer to the ring of CCBC campuses around the city, will have shorter commute times and lower tuition to their places of work and study.
Further, we see the decision to cut staff positions and hundreds of thousands of dollars from BCCC’s successful English Language Services (ELS) Department as an act of self-sabotage inflicted within a larger landscape in Maryland that is hostile to immigrants and community colleges. ELS primarily serves Baltimore’s growing immigrant community, an expanding demographic within the city’s pre-K through 12 and higher education student bodies. We call on the Maryland General Assembly and City Hall to restore this lost grant funding.
We also agree with Morgan State University President David Wilson that the University of Baltimore should merge into Morgan State University as its downtown campus.
In light of Maryland’s checkered history of segregation in higher education and disinvestment in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), as well as the irresponsible underfunding of our state’s community colleges, these significant reforms are not only practical and just, but sorely needed.
Likewise, elected and appointed officials must stop pulling the chair out from under us with stunts like transferring the Baltimore Police Department’s training academy to the University of Baltimore instead of Coppin State University, which came as a surprising blow in West Baltimore and the communities Coppin anchors. While Coppin would not be directly impacted by the mergers we propose, such disregard cannot continue. Instead, Coppin and West Baltimore must be strengthened by meaningful state investment in faculty, research and, most importantly, students.
Continued neglect of Maryland’s HBCUs, community colleges, staff, faculty and students will lead to ever-increasing inequality in our state. The cost of this inequality, coupled with the debt Maryland owes to black people, is staggering.
As Georgetown University and others begin accounting for the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow, Maryland must become a national leader in forging forward with reparations in the field of higher education. Elected officials in Annapolis and City Hall, as well as newly selected University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman, must act decisively with reparative and sweeping reforms to scale with the challenges students, faculty and staff at Baltimore’s colleges and universities face. Maryland can lead the nation in higher education, but we must lead with equity.
Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, an alumnus of BCCC and Coppin State University, is CEO of the Matthew A. Henson Community Development Corporation in West Baltimore; his email is [email protected]. Owen Silverman Andrews, a former adjunct faculty member of BCCC and CCBC, is co-chair of the Baltimore City Green Party and lives in Southeast Baltimore; his email is [email protected]
THIS STATEMENT SEEMS TO CONTRADICT THAT WHICH THE CITY OF BALTIMORE BOARD OF ESTIMATES WAS IMPLYING WITH REFERENCE TO A SUPPOSED URGENCY TO MAKE A SELECTION STEMMING FROM THE CONSENT DECREE.
" the Consent Decree sets out a number of requirements that the City and BPD must comply with over time. The Judge’s authority to enforce this Court Order is confined to the terms set out in the Decree. A review of the Decree reveals that the Court has NO authority to dictate where BPD and the City choose to locate the Academy. In addition, the Judge’s role in this matter is to ultimately determine compliance with the Decree. "
Presently we are seeking an attorney to enable us to re-File our PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF.
OUR FIGHT FOR JUSTICE WILL NOT END