Coalition v Maryland Talking Points: Remedies

Coalition v Maryland Talking Points: Remedies

        Coalition v Maryland Talking Points: Remedies



  • Background of the Case:  In October 2013, United States Federal District Court Judge Catherine  Blake concluded that Maryland  deliberately operates  a dual, and unequal system of higher education to the disadvantage of the State’s Historically Black Institutions. (HBIs).  In particular, the judge concluded that the State has created a large disparity in the number of distinct and distinctive academic programs at the Traditionally White Institutions (TWIs) vs the Historically Black Institutions (HBIS). This disparity was 122 to 11 at the time of trial. The judge concluded that Maryland was worse than Mississippi of decades ago in terms of the dual system of academic programs.


2, How Did We Get Here? As the Court noted, Maryland’s historical documents showed that it had a policy of “maintaining the HBIs as inferior in every aspect of their operation.”  A series of official reports chronicled the effects of the State’s policy through the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education.   After Brown, the State took a number of deliberate steps to keep the HBIs marginalized, rather than integrating them into the overall system of higher education.   Because of a number of deliberate steps the State has taken, the HBIs have fewer white students than they had in the 1970s, and the overall state policy propelled the growing of the Traditionally White Institutions while impairing the growth of the Historically Black Institutions.

Here are a few examples of what even the State acknowledged was a part of   its “shameful history.” :

  • In the 1960s, Maryland rejected the request of Morgan State University to be established as the first biracial university in the State.
  • Maryland ignored the reports of various state commissions that recommended that Morgan State University be established as a research university in Baltimore, for students of all races. Instead, the State created a new University, UMBC, and gave it a similar mission that led to parallel programs at the two schools.  It also brought the then failing private University of Baltimore into the Maryland system—all at substantial cost, and for no reason other than not wanting to “build –out” a historically black institution.
  • In doing so, Maryland rejected the recommendation of its 1973 Cox Commission, which expressed concern about the effect that bringing the University of Baltimore into the public system would have on Coppin State and Morgan State and urged the State to create specialty academic programs at the HBIs that would allow them to attract a broad cross section of students.
  • In the meantime, numerous State reports chronicled the enormous differential in spending on the TWIs compared to the HBIs,  and recommended catch-up funding for the HBIs, which the State consistently refused to provide.
  • The State engaged in a deliberate pattern of spending extra money to establish and enhance competing programs at nearby TWIs, even over warnings that this was hurting the HBIs, hampered by the State’s long-standing discrimination.
  • In 2000, Maryland entered into an Agreement with the Office of Civil Rights wherein it agreed to stop undermining the HBIs and agreed to provide and pay for  the kind of academic programs that would be distinct, and distinctive. But the State reneged on this promise.
  • Over a long period of time, Maryland rejected the recommendations from  various State commissions, including the 2009 Bohannan Commission, that recommended a  substantial infusion of funds to make up for historical discrimination against the HBIs, including providing new academic programs. It also called for restructuring of the system of higher education that undermined the HBIs.  The State also committed to making the HBIs “comparable to and competitive” with the HBIs , but reneged on that commitment as well.
  • In at least one instance, Judge Blake noted that Maryland  Attorney General’s office warned the State in 2005 that its conduct was unconstitutional. Still, the State continued to favor the Traditionally White Institutions.
  • In Court, Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office argued that it was “ridiculous” to expect that any amount of funding or new academic programs would help the Traditionally Black Institutions rise to prominence in order to compete with the historically favored Traditionally White Institutions.



  • Judge Blake’s Ruling:  After a 6 week trial, the judge concluded that Maryland had not taken seriously its obligations to provide new academic programs to the HBIs. Specifically, the Court noted that the State had promised in the 2000 Partnership Agreement with the Office of Civil Rights to provide academic programs at the HBIs (of the kind that would attract students and funding) but “unfortunately the State did not follow through on this commitment.” The Court noted that 30 years ago the State had agreed to create 25 new programs at the HBIs but did not do either.  As a remedy, the judge concluded that the State likely would be required to create academic niches at the HBIs, such as hospital facilities management, and indicated that it is likely that some of the programs illegally placed at the TWIs would need to be transferred to the HBIs. The Court ordered the parties to engage in mediation to see if they could reach a settlement.
  • Maryland Did Not Engage in Good Faith Settlement and Engaged In Delaying Tactics:  Maryland dragged out the mediation for 2 years. At one point it told the Court that “there was substantial overlap between the parties proposals” and “nothing was off the table. “ But that was a misrepresentation.
  • After Two Years, Judge Blake  Ordered The  Parties to Present Remedial Plans
  • The State’s Plan Shows Continued Marginalization of the HBIs
  • The State’s Plan was written by its lawyers.  They did not consult with anybody from the HBIs or with anybody from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
  • The Plan lacks any analysis showing that it would remedy the violation the Court found.  It provided short term Summer Camps at the HBIs, the incredible notion being that any high school student who came to the campus would be impressed and apply. The State compared this proposal to a similar program at John Hopkins, even though its own witnesses admitted at trial that the facilities at the HBIs are not comparable to those at the TWIs.
  • Maryland proposed a few Joint Programs, with less funding than  the  State probably has spent to litigate this case--  with half of the  money going  to the  TWIs, even though its own witness admitted at trial that the State’s historical discrimination that left the HBIs unable to compete financially with the TWIs.
  • The HBI Presidents publicly condemned the State’s proposal as “not even close”
  • Judge Blake rejected the State’s proposal as “inadequate and not sufficiently specific ”
  • Even Maryland’s own experts admitted the State plan was inadequate.  
  • Plaintiffs Remedial Plan:
  • Is Based on the Maryland/OCR 2000 Partnership Agreement
  • Is consistent  with Maryland’s  Commission Reports, like Cox Commission and 2009 HBI Panel Report
  • Follows the guidelines set by the Court.




  • Maryland’s  Reaction to Plaintiffs’ Plan Is A Continuation of Its Marginalization of the HBIs


The State position essentially is that:

  • Maryland’s HBIs cannot be desegregated because white students will not attend HBIs even with new, unique programs in areas of high student demand.
  • Maryland has objected to the proposals set forth by the HBIs being introduced by trial.
  • Maryland objects to HBI Presidents and faculty testifying about what kind of remedy they want, and have suggested that the HBI Presidents lack expertise to address the issues in the case.
  • Maryland filed a motion (which it lost) to try to have UMES excluded from any remedy.  
  • Maryland is fighting to maintain the status quo.


  • Maryland’s  Overall Abandonment of Any Pretext of Equity and Equality
  • Maryland’s 2009 State Plan For Higher Education   committed to making the HBIs comparable and competitive with the TWIs, which Judge Blake noted was an admirable goal.
  • But Now : The State has backed away from that goal and its  current Plan for Higher Education groups the  HBIs with Community Colleges
  • The Promise Of Plaintiffs’ Remedial Plan:  Plaintiffs’ plan would make the HBIs full partners in Maryland’s higher education system, and eliminate the wasteful and illogical duplication that was the heart of “separate but equal.” It would also allow Maryland to create model institutions of the kind that it agreed do to in its 2000 Agreement with the Office of Civil Rights, and in its 2009 State Plan for Higher Education.  The court has stated the plaintiffs’ proposal of creating programmatic distinctive niches at the HBIs an idea that has promise.