Inadequate Funding for HBCUs

By Special to the AFRO -
October 3, 2019

By Rev. Dr. Kevin A. Slayton, Sr.
Pastor of Lanham United Methodist Church in Lanham, Maryland

The Governor’s offer of $200 million to address the decades of inadequate funding of Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) should be an insult to our intelligence. He has made the mistake that so many of our White brothers and sisters do on a fairly regular basis. They assume that Blacks will take anything, and just maybe that is not so unwarranted considering our previous behaviors.

But this issue of adequate funding for our HBCU’s has been a constant in our policy and legislative debates since the stirrings of Delegate Rudy Cane and Senator Joan Carter Conway some 15 years ago. Then they argued that evidenced and egregious duplication of programs at the Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) was extremely instrumental in the decline in many of the state’s HBCU’s. Almost every year our African-American legislators have had to deal with this same issue of fairness and equity only to be met with stalled negotiations and outright disrespect. The Governor, like so many before him, relish in the portrayal of our communities as beggars, but that is not the case at all. We are merely demanding that the wrongs of our states past be made right for this generation and those to come.

The demand to fairly and equitably fund these institutions is not without a history. As far back as in 1937 a Maryland Report of the Commission on Higher Education of Negroes pointed out that there was “enormous differential in favor of the white race.” In 1950, the Maryland Weglin Commission Report described the “uphill struggle on the part of the Negro colleges to secure facilities on par with white institutions.” This was reinforced by the 1954 Brown v Board of Education ruling where, the Supreme Court declared “separate but equal” was illegal under the constitution.

As I previously mentioned the impact of duplication in the following years was the driving nail that would ensure the inadequate standing of HBCU’s and the steps to correct it is what leads us to this place today. The inadequacies were so obvious that the Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan, admitted in 2006, that the state had “not done right over time by Historically Black Institutions and they deserve special scrutiny and attention in terms of adequacy of funding.”

Now is the time for all of our local and national organizations to pony up and put their advocacy resources to work confronting this administration’s most recent offer. The Maryland Black Caucus and the state delegations that are predominantly of color must not shoulder this work alone. The leaders of our Divine Nine, NAACP, Urban League, National Action Network, Links, Faith Communities and Masonic Lodges should all descend on Annapolis in a major demonstration demanding that the Governor and his Lt. Governor, who happens to be African American and a graduate of an HBCU, do the right thing and put this matter of justice to rest. We must demonstrate to those in the ivory towers that we can do more than host an amazing party and dance the night away. We can do more than raise money, host wonderful affairs, and serve as guest in your private sporting event boxes. Now is the time to show the powers that be that we can also organize and recognize when we are being insulted.

But not only should our leaders take to the streets, so should our white elected officials. Those officials who conveniently silence their rhetoric on this issue. Meanwhile in the coming months they will be aggressively pursuing African-American support. Senators and congressmen alike have much larger platforms, yet they too remain silent. For too long we’ve put the matter of addressing white injustice to those in the Black community. I would strongly suggest that the time has come that our White brothers and sisters do some of the lifting to address those in their communities. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

Also, on this issue, the Black community should seek and request some reciprocity from those other interests whom we’ve partnered with and supported in their time of struggle. When it comes to issues of justice and fairness the mark bends toward justice when we are all doing our part to point it in that direction. Unfortunately, historically, it has been one sided when it comes to issues pertaining to the Black community in this state. When it was rights for those in the LGBTQA+ community it was the state’s African-American community standing on the front lines with them. When the issue involved in-state tuition for this state’s immigrant population it was the African-American community in the state house and throughout the community in support of our brothers and sisters, a majority from the Hispanic community. But when it comes to our issues where in the hell are they?

Lastly, where is the leadership of the Maryland Democratic Party whose base is sustained and secure because of Black support? Where do they stand on this matter and what has been their vocal and political interest in helping to address an issue that affects so many of their base support. This, in my opinion, is a major problem. But, if this is a problem for any of them today, then I think it ought to be a problem for Black voters on Election Day.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Afro-American Newspapers.


Why aren’t Md. politicians, other groups weighing in on state’s HBCU offer?



By Kevin Slayton/Baltimore Sun |
Oct 02, 2019 | 9:19 AM

The most recent non-negotiable offer made by Gov. Larry Hogan for the settlement of decades of inequitable funding of this state’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is beyond unreasonable and could be more appropriately termed disrespectful. When it comes to righting past wrongs enacted upon people of color, the response has always been less than fair when left up to white leadership. Mr. Hogan has offered what I would expect from someone who has no real sense of the value provided to our nation by HBCUs.

In light of his “no-room-for-negotiation offer,” I am more concerned by the other white state leaders and officials who are choosing to remain silent on this issue. Many of them will seek and court the black vote in major ways in the coming months. What about them? Do they think similarly?

Hogan HBCU offer inadequate, insulting »

I don’t want us to forget that our state legislators have a voice and a platform. The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus chair, Del. Darryl Barnes, should not have the sole weight of waging this battle placed on his shoulders. What about many of his other white colleagues, who will also reach out for black support in their upcoming campaigns and legislation? The state comptroller has a lot to say about many things, and he too should be held accountable.

When it comes to issues of justice and fairness, the arc bends toward justice when we are all doing our part to point it in that direction. Unfortunately, historically it has been one sided when it comes to issues pertaining to the black community.

When it was rights for those in the LGBTQA+ community, the state’s African American community stood on the front lines with them. When the issue involved state tuition for Maryland’s immigrant population, the African American community in the State House and throughout the region stood in support of our brothers and sisters, a majority of whom were from the Hispanic community.

But when it comes to our issues, where are they?

HBCU 'attributes' encourage high achievement »

Where is the leadership of the Maryland Democratic Party, whose base is sustained and secured because of black support? And lastly, where is the lieutenant governor, an African American graduate of an HBCU? Of all interested parties, he should be demanding justice and reminding his colleagues of the responsibility to deal with our community from a stand point of fairness.

The demand to fairly and equitably fund these institutions is not without a history. A 1937 Maryland Report of the Commission on Higher Education of Negroes pointed out that there was “enormous differential in favor of the white race.” In 1950, another Maryland report described the “uphill struggle on the part of the Negro colleges to secure facilities on par with white institutions.”

The impact of program duplication at traditionally white schools in the following years was the driving nail that would ensure the inadequate standing of HBCUs, and the steps to correct that is what leads us to this place today.

4th Circuit judges say Maryland HBCU lawsuit should be settled, set mediation deadline of April 30

What The Sun paper wrote in 2012 is still true now: “Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities were underfunded during the era of segregation now the state must find a way to empower them to compete effectively with their traditionally white peers.”

I’m calling on the white peers of the legislators in Annapolis and Washington to use your offices and your voices to demand a fair and more just offer from this state’s top leader. If they truly care about the just society then this is a great place to start.

If this is a problem for any of them today, then I think it ought to be a problem for all of us on Election Day.





HBCU Coalition Asks Legislators to Settle Lawsuit, With $577M Offer


HBCU Coalition Asks Legislators to Settle Lawsuit, With $577M Offer

















WE have sent out an urgent request for the NAACP MARYLAND STATE CONFERENCE to host An Emergency Maryland HBCU Stakeholders' Rally, during the upcoming NAACP MSC State Conference, to energize and galvanize support.



The State of Mississippi will have paid $503 Million to 3 HBCU’s as a result of the landmark Ayers  Case being settled in 1992.  If calculations are accurate that would be an inflation rate of 2.25 today amounting to over $1 billion dollars.  The State of Maryland used program duplication to clearly create harmful effects on MD HBCU’s more so than in the Mississippi HBCU’s.  The $577 Million that is being offered is far less than what was paid in the Ayers case when accounting for both inflation and the MD HBCU case dealing with 4 HBCU’s rather than 3 HBCU’s in the Ayers case.


Conversely we suggest $800 Million divided for Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Morgan State University: and University of Maryland  Eastern Shore:

$400 Million            Academic Programs

   $200 Million            Capital Improvements

$100 Million            Public Endowments

$80 Million             Private Endowments

                    $20 Million                Summer Enrichment Programs.


There is no better group than the NAACP to host a 1 Hour, STATE-WIDE, Rally than the '..LARGEST AND THE OLDEST..." CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION.  NAACP

We urgently need everyone’s leadership, assistance, involvement and prayers.








Mississippi’s Landmark HBCU Lawsuit Shows the Reach of Inequity Beyond Borders and Across Generations

FROM HBCU DIGEST,  Published onSeptember 19, 2017, AUTHOR JL Carter Sr. 

Five years from now, the State of Mississippi will make its final payout to its three public historically black universities as mandated by a Supreme Court desegregation decision ordered in 1992 and implemented by the state a decade later.

But issues persist for Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University, all which have worked hard to qualify for every cent of funding attached to increasing white student enrollment, maintaining standards for admission and achievement, and providing an educational safety valve for the state’s abysmal record on primary and secondary education for its students.


Unlike the schools, Mississippi hasn’t invested the same energy in keeping its court-mandated promise; a $35 million endowment which was supposed to be secured with funds raised by the IHL board is short about $34 million. And money which was supposed to add to the HBCUs’ usual appropriations has now become a resource to replace funding lost through budget cuts.

“We are continuously looking at initiatives to bring in other race students, but the challenge is where we are located in the Mississippi Delta,” said La Shon Brooks, (Mississippi Valley State University’s) chief of staff and legislative liaison.

“It’s getting to a point where our employees will be affected if we don’t have something to take the place of the funds that’ll go away,” added Brooks.

Mississippi will have paid more than $500 million over 30 years to amend for generations of racist and segregative policies which stunted the expansion of these three HBCUs. In some ways the judicial remedy has worked – Jackson State is one of just five historically black institutions classified as a Carnegie “higher research activity” institution. And along with Alcorn, JSU has had several years with increased enrollment and has established competitive programs in diverse fields.

But gaps in the Ayers settlement, which HBCU advocates challenged even 20 years ago, mean more than just missing funds needed to spur marketing, recruitment and talent acquisition in faculty and staff. It also means that the foundational case for current and future litigation involving HBCUs will have this precedent upon which to base future settlements.

In Maryland, a federal judge is poised to rule on how the state used program duplication to create more harmful effects for its four black colleges than Mississippi ever did with disparate funding. The Ayers case was a critical element in the plaintiffs’ case, which made the argument that its judgment didn’t go far enough in reversing harmful effects of separate but equal systems of higher education for black and white students.


Maryland is betting on the case going to higher courts, and possibly the Supreme Court, where they hope to draw the empathy of a largely conservative bench. But even with political leanings on their side, case law and popular culture project a bitter loss for the Free State – but they will have a healthy blueprint for how to avoid harsh penalties thanks to Mississippi’s appropriation shell games.

The money will eventually end in Mississippi, and its three HBCUs will have a recent history of budget cuts that if sustained would be catastrophic without the salve of the Ayers lawsuit funding and underdevelopment endowments. How their infrastructure and operations survive without it remains a critical question; but just as important is the notion of how Maryland and other states contemplating inequity lawsuits will deal with the Mississippi model of marginalizing HBCUs, even with a $500 million price tag attached?



Coalition of Maryland HBCUs seeks $577 million to drop lawsuit, avoid ‘litigating for the next 10 years’

By Talia Richman
Baltimore Sun |
Sep 10, 2019 | 6:29 PM

Coppin State University in Baltimore is one of four historically black colleges and universities in Maryland that stands to benefit if a coalition of advocates working on their behalf and Gov. Larry Hogan's administration can reach a financial settlement to a court case that has dragged on for years.


A coalition advocating for Maryland’s four historically black universities sent a letter to elected officials Tuesday offering to settle its 13-year-old lawsuit against the state for $577 million — more than five times the governor’s last public offer.

That figure is less than Mississippi paid in a similar lawsuit, when accounting for inflation, coalition attorney Mike Jones said. In 2002, Mississippi paid more than $500 million to settle its landmark Ayers case, which successfully argued the state had denied black residents equal education opportunities by discriminating against its three HBCUs.

Advocates call Maryland’s drawn-out legal battle the most important higher education desegregation case in decades. It hinges on the claim that state’s university system long fostered segregation by allowing well-funded academic programs at traditionally white universities to undermine similar ones at Morgan State University and Coppin State University in Baltimore, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

Despite a 2013 court decision finding that Maryland’s actions indeed perpetuated segregation — and a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that stated the case “can and should be settled” — the two sides have struggled to reach a remedy. The latest round of court-ordered mediation ended in July, without a resolution.

Related: Mediation fails again in case seeking to force Maryland to better fund and strengthen HBCU programs »

The coalition sent a letter Tuesday to members of the Maryland General Assembly and the state’s congressional delegation, proposing the state pay $577 million, “spread over a reasonable time period."

“Hopefully, this will start up the discussion again,” Jones said.

If the parties can’t reach an agreement, the case’s future lies with the federal appeals court.

Del. Darryl Barnes, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, called the coalition’s proposal both “doable” and “fair.”

Related: Hogan willing to spend $100 million to settle HBCU lawsuit »

The Prince George’s County Democrat says he will ask members of his caucus, the state Senate president, state House speaker and representatives from the governor’s office to gather and “figure out how we’re going to come to this number and settle it."

The coalition of HBCU advocates believe past offers to be insufficient, saying it would take several hundred million dollars to make substantial change.

The money would enable HBCUs to develop unique, in-demand academic programs at each of the four HBCUs and to hire quality faculty members to run those programs. Only then, lawyers argue, will these schools be able to fairly compete with traditionally white schools and attract students of all races. In addition, the letter states, the money would be devoted to providing more scholarships and ramping up marketing efforts “to offset the state’s decades of stigmatization of the HBCUs.”

“Now is the time to bring justice to Maryland’s black colleges,” Jones wrote.

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, indicated last year he’s open to spending up to $100 million over a 10-year period to settle the lawsuit.

Robert Scholz, the governor’s legal counsel, wrote in a February 2018 letter to the Legislative Black Caucus that that offer represented “a serious, multiyear commitment which we believes goes well beyond what the law requires.”

“Governor Hogan wants to bring this litigation to an end in a manner satisfactory to all parties, and in the best interests of all Marylanders, especially current and future HBI students," Scholz wrote.

“Governor Hogan wants to bring this litigation to an end in a manner satisfactory to all parties, and in the best interests of all Marylanders, especially current and future HBI students," Scholz wrote.

Any other offers from the state would have been made during confidential mediation sessions.

"We negotiated in good faith, making a generous offer and dramatically increasing that offer,” Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said in a statement, noting that the governor has dedicated $1.15 billion in funding toward Maryland HBCUs.

A panel of 4th Circuit judges determined earlier this year the case ought to be settled. If not, they wrote, “the parties will likely condemn themselves to endless years of acrimonious, divisive and expensive litigation that will only work to the detriment of higher education in Maryland.”

That’s part of why Jones said his firm wanted to send Tuesday’s letter. He hopes to bring discussions out into the open, and propel the debate forward publicly.

“Litigating for the next 10 years is not in the schools’ interests,” Jones said. “It’s in their interests to get the resources and programs that can make a difference.”