Baltimore City Council adopts calling for state to settle HBCU funding lawsuit

Baltimore City Council adopts calling for state to settle HBCU funding lawsuit


BALTIMORE SUN NOV 18, 2019 | 8:24 PM

The Baltimore City Council on Monday adopted a resolution calling for the state to settle a longstanding lawsuit over disparities in the way Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities are funded.

Advocates for the state’s four HBCUs proposed in September the state pay $577 million to settle the case, which has wound through the legal system for more than a decade. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan responded with what he called a “final offer” of $200 million to settle the case.

Announcing his resolution at a City Council lunch meeting, City Council President Brandon Scott said the governor was “insulting HBCUs with his offer.”

Scott, a Democrat, said the state should reach an agreement with the HBCU coalition that is in line with the group’s proposed amount. 

The case argues Maryland fostered segregation by allowing better-funded academic programs at traditionally white universities to undermine similar ones at the four historically black schools: Coppin State University and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

Last week, nearly 300 students, activists and lawmakers rallied in Annapolis to call on state officials to equitably fund the historically black institutions. The chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus said then that legislators will step up if the governor doesn’t reconsider his settlement offer.

“There will be a bill that we will introduce this upcoming session to settle this thing if he doesn’t want to do it himself," said Del. Darryl Barnes, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

A spokesman for Hogan said Monday night that, under the governor, the state has “provided historically high funding for Maryland’s HBCUs.”

"Governor Hogan has shown real leadership on this issue where others have repeatedly failed over the years,” Michael Ricci wrote in a statement.