NPHC Letter to Governor Hogan
October 31, 2019
The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., Governor 100 State Circle Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925
Re: Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, Inc., et al v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et al.
Dear Mr. Hogan:
On behalf of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, we urge you to pay the full $577 million that Bowie State, Coppin State, Morgan State and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore are requesting to resolve the decades of unequal funding that a federal judge ruled the state is responsible for.
The Council of Presidents is comprised of the nine international presidents of the National Pan Hellenic Council. The National Pan Hellenic Council is comprised of the nine fraternities and sororities founded between 1906 and 1963 on University campuses throughout the nation. The collective membership of our organizations represent some 1.5 million university educated men and women worldwide. In the state of Maryland, our collective membership represents approximately 30,000, both undergraduate and alumni residents. We, the undersigned and respective members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, write to express our dismay with your recent proposal in the negotiation of the long-standing lawsuit between the state and constituents regarding Maryland’s unequal treatment of its four historically black universities.
Members of our organizations have labored through more than 13 years of litigation and negotiations with one goal in mind: increased competitiveness and comparability for Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with the other universities in Maryland. Despite persistent efforts of our members and other partnering organizations, and the lawful rulings of several district court judges compelling the state to negotiate with the plaintiffs in good faith, we have not seen a demonstrable commitment from you to ensure that HBCUs in Maryland are afforded the full support that it is guaranteed under the law. We hope you agree that we must eliminate the vestiges of segregation in Maryland’s Higher Education system. However, settlement offers of $100 or even $200 million fall woefully short of what is required to promote equality into the future and to remedy the significant damages caused to Maryland’s HBCUs and its constituency until present day. Legal precedent set nearly 20 years ago for similar cases establishes settlements exceeding $500 million.
Maryland is one of the nation’s great states for diverse and quality public higher education opportunities for all students and is among the country’s highest-ranked states in the number of students who attend college after graduating from high school. Maryland’s leadership in these areas requires that industrial and social interests in the region be supported by unique and high-demand programs that meet the needs of 21st-century professionals who are developing or recalibrating skills to meet the workforce needs of the present and future.
To achieve this goal, Maryland’s historically black institutions must be enhanced to meet the needs of all citizens, without discrimination based upon race, socioeconomic status or geographical location. These
4 institutions represent the spectrum of value that the HBCU sector has earned over 150 years. From land-grant education to innovation in science, technological, engineering and mathematical fields, to community boosting fields such as secondary education, social work, and criminal justice; HBCUs and their students and graduates reflect the best of the state and it’s potential.
We condemn the state’s failure to adequately close this abhorrent chapter in its history and its stubbornness in trying to show citizens that race is a question to which resources and justice remain an uneven answer in the pursuit of justice.
We stand with our chapters and members, and all supporters calling for a swift and fair resolution to this case.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Everett B. Ward, Ph.D. General President Chair Council of Presidents
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Dr. Glenda B. Glover International President
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Reuben A. Shelton, Esq. Grand Polemarch
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. David Marion, Ph.D. Grand Basileus Vice-Chair Council of Presidents
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Beverly E. Smith National President
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Micheal Cristal International President
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Valerie Hollingsworth-Baker International President
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Deborah Catchings-Smith International Grand Basileus
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Andre R. Manson International Grand Polaris
CC: Delegate Charles Sydnor
Delegate Darryl Barnes