Senate President Miller urges resolution of HBCU lawsuit against Maryland over state's treatment of schools
Speaking Thursday from his seat in the Senate chamber, Miller suggested that the state give Bowie State University money to establish a law school, help fund the purchase of additional land for Morgan State University in Baltimore and reward the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore for a successful physical therapy degree program by creating another sought-after academic curriculum there.
Mike Miller, a Democrat, urged Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to come up with a meaningful offer to settle the suit.
“This is our message to the second floor,” Miller said, referring to the location of the governor’s office in the State House. “We’re here to help. You come up with a program. You come up with a way to solve this issue. We need a win-win.”
A 12-year-old lawsuit that advocates have called the most important higher education desegregation case in decades “can and should be settled,” according to a panel of judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The case has pitted a coalition of advocates* of historically black colleges against...
Hogan has offered $100 million in extra funding to the universities over 10 years, but HBCU supporters called that inadequate.
“We are in the process of mediation and remain interested in reaching an agreement that will conclude the case in a way that is fair and equitable for Maryland’s college students,” Hogan spokeswoman Shareese Churchill said Thursday in a statement.
Representatives from the state’s four historically black schools — Morgan State and Coppin State universities in Baltimore, Bowie State and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, in Princess Anne — have accused the state of allowing well-funded programs at historically white universities to undermine similar programs at the HBCUs.
The lawsuit was filed 12 years ago, and the courts ruled in 2013 that the state’s actions perpetuated segregation. A federal court ordered mediation to work toward remedies. The court set a deadline of April 30.
The governor has declined to discuss the details because the court has ordered the negotiations to be conducted confidentially. However, Hogan has said he hopes to resolve the lawsuit, supports HBCUs and has offered them increased funding since he’s been in office.
In a letter to Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, chair of the state’s...
Miller said he hopes the case can be settled without an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We need to resolve it right now,” he said.
Members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland have urged Hogan to come up with what they call a meaningful offer to settle the lawsuit.
And the Maryland Democratic Party issued a statement Thursday, also calling for a resolution.
The HBCUs “have long played a critical role in our state by educating generations of African-Americans,” said, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the party’s chairwoman. “The Maryland Democratic Party fully stands with our HBCUs, and we believe that swift resolution of the lawsuit would be ideal for all parties involved.”
From Inside Higher
Gov. Larry Hogan met with members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland on Thursday to discuss a settlement to a long-running dispute over the state's treatment of its historically black colleges, as well as other priorities of the caucus this legislative session.
Hogan said after the meeting that HBCUs have his strong support. The governor told reporters the state has "drastically increased funding for all HBCUs, now with this recent budget, five years in a row — far more than the previous administration, which I think surprised the black caucus members that we talked to this morning."
The Hogan administration notes $1.15 billion in state funds has been invested in Maryland's four historically black colleges since the governor entered office in 2015. Hogan said the state will continue to work on resolving the matter that is now in mediation in a federal court case.
"My desire is to resolve it," Hogan, a Republican, said. "We do have offers on the table. We're hoping that both parties can reach agreement, but we're under court order to not discuss those mediations or those offers, so I can't get into much detail other than that."
Members of the caucus said a proposed settlement last year by the governor of $100 million over 10 years is inadequate. Del. Jay Walker, a caucus member who attended the meeting, pointed to previous settlements in other states that were significantly larger.
"To offer $100 million over 10 years, at $10 million a year, you're not really trying to make a difference, so I don't think we're close to the settlement," said Walker, a Prince George's County Democrat. "You always hear the statement, 'I've offered more than any other governor before in the past.' Well, I remember when I was here we had to deal with a deficit, a financial crisis, and there was no money there to be offered during the (Gov. Martin) O'Malley administration, so if you really want to take a leadership role, do the right thing by HBCUs in the state."
Del. Darryl Barnes, a Prince George's County Democrat who chairs the caucus, told reporters after the breakfast meeting at the governor's residence that the caucus is focusing on the issue to make sure "we settle this lawsuit in a way that's beneficial to all."
"We didn't discuss a figure per se, but we did let him know where we stood on ensuring that the settlement gets settled fast," Barnes said.
Earlier this year, a federal appeals court ordered a fourth attempt at mediation in the 12-year-old dispute. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set an April 30 deadline to reach a mediated settlement and ordered monthly progress reports from the mediator. The colleges say the state underfunded them while developing programs at traditionally white schools that drain prospective students away.
Maryland's four historically black colleges are Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Maryland's black lawmakers urge Gov. Hogan to meet with them to help settle long-running HBCU lawsuit
From the Baltimore Sun
The clock tower of Holmes Hall is reflected in a window of the library on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore on Nov. 8. 2007. (KIM HAIRSTON / Baltimore Sun)
Pamela Wood Contact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun
January 18, 2019 1:10 PM
Maryland’s black lawmakers are asking Gov. Larry Hogan to meet with them to discuss settling a long-running lawsuit that alleges the state fostered segregation at its public universities.
Members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland delivered a letter Friday to Hogan’s office, seeking the meeting “to resolve what we view not as a legal matter, but rather, a matter of political will.”
Representatives from the state’s four historically black universities — Morgan State and Coppin State universities in Baltimore, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, in Princess Anne — accused the state of allowing well-funded programs at historically white universities to undermine similar programs at the HBCUs.
The lawsuit was first filed 12 years ago, and the courts ruled in 2013 that the state’s actions did perpetuate segregation.
Members of the black caucus asked for a meeting within 10 days, but Hogan’s office said the governor would discuss the lawsuit when he has a meeting with the group on Feb. 7.
“We remain interested in reaching an agreement that will conclude the case in a way that is fair and equitable for Maryland’s college students,” Hogan spokeswoman Shareese Churchill said in a statement.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court issued an order telling both sides in the lawsuit to meet to work toward remedies. The court set a deadline of April 30.
Members of the black caucus have met with lawyers from both sides and hope to act as intermediaries to bring the parties together, said Del. Darryl Barnes, a Prince George’s County Democrat who chairs the caucus.
“The black caucus is unified in our request that the HBCU lawsuit be settled,” Barnes said.
In the letter to Hogan, Barnes wrote that the governor’s previous offer of $100 million over 10 years is “woefully inadequate” to settle the case. He noted that a similar lawsuit in Mississippi in 2002 was settled for $503 million.
The lawyers for the universities previously sought to have some academic programs transferred from traditionally white universities to the historically black universities. They also proposed creating programs at the HBCUs to attract a diverse student body and sought more money for scholarships and marketing.
FROM THE AFRO/January 6, 2019
By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO
Fourth Circuit Orders Maryland to Negotiate With HBCUs
The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered plaintiffs representing alumni and graduates of Maryland’s four HBCU’s to the negotiating table for a fourth time, Wednesday.
The order is another attempt at mediation with the State of Maryland to end a discrimination lawsuit that has lasted more than a decade.
After two hours of oral arguments before a three-judge panel, December 11, Judges Steven Agee, Stephanie Thacker and J. Harvie Wilkinson, wasted no time issuing an order January 2, for the parties come to an agreement by April 30, 2019.
“The Court is of the firm conviction that this case can and should be settled,” the court order stated. “Otherwise, the parties will likely condemn themselves to endless years of acrimonious and divicine litigation that will only work to the detriment higher education in Maryland.”
HBCU advocates widely hailed the appellate court order.
“The judges’ order is welcome,” said Michael D. Jones, partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, who along with Jon Greenbaum represented the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education. The plaintiffs represent alumni, students and supporters of Bowie State, Coppin State, Morgan State and University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has represented the Coalition in what has become widely known as the Maryland HBCU Equity Case for the past 12 years.
“The Fourth Circuit reaffirms our long-standing commitment to mediate in good faith,” said David Burton, president of the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education. “We trust that the State of Maryland will now do the same.”
“It certainly is not a big surprise to me that the Fourth Circuit is saying to the State: Come to the table with a serious proposal, and to the coalition, come to the table and decide to work it out,” said Morgan State University President David Wilson.
The Appeals Court placed restrictions on the parties urging them to move rapidly and make serious progress toward settlement. The fourth Circuit Mediator will “report his view of the good faith progress of this mediation every 30 days,” to the court. Only the court’s Chief mediator can recommend extension of the April 30 date for settlement talks.
HBCU advocates won’t be standing by quietly waiting for the April 30 deadline. The HBCU Matters Coalition, a statewide advocacy group marshalling support for Maryland’s HBCU’s, is gearing up to hold several events, making sure State officials feel the pressure to follow through on the Appellate Court order to make a serious offer that will settle the case.
“It is imperative that we state to Governor Hogan, Attorney General Frosh and the Maryland Higher Education Commission that ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,’” said Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, president of the HBCU Matters Coalition.
HBCU Alumni and students across the state are planning to descend on Annapolis for a massive HBCU Day before the April 30 deadline.
“We will bring nationwide attention to MHEC and its historic economic exploitation and racial discrimination,” Cheatham said. The group plans a face-to-face take-over of the Maryland General Assembly to stress the urgency of a fair settlement.
In January 2018, Governor Larry Hogan issued a letter to the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, offering to settle the HBCU Equity lawsuit for 100 million dollars. Hogan has offered the settlement money Yo the state’s four HBCU’s over a 10-year period. Each HBCU would receive 2 million per year; nowhere near is the amount needed to address the District Court finding of 14th amendment violations affecting HBCU students, according to lawyers for the Coalition.
Experts have indicated that a more realistic figure to address what the US District Court has said is a “discriminatory pattern of program duplication that put HBCU’s at a disadvantage” would be 1 to 2 billion dollars.
“We remain interested in reaching an agreement that will conclude the case in a way that is equitable for Maryland’s college students,” said Hogan spokesperson, Shareese DeLeaver.
Name: The Maryland Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Funding Act
BE IT ENACTED that the amount of __________ in increments of ______________ per year will be provided by the State of Maryland to the General Fund of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in the State of Maryland. These HBCU’s being Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Campus.
Before getting to the preparation of the bill a legislative committee should be established to determine the fine points. The proposed Resolution to create such a committee is as follows:
BE IT RESOLVED that a joint House and Senate Legislative Committee be established to determine how to properly fund the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Maryland. Those institutions being Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Campus. The revenue streams to be considered are the Maryland State Lottery; casino revenue from table games and video slot machines; and off track betting (OTB); and sports betting.