Maryland HBCUs Push For Federal Funding In Lengthy Legal Battle

BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  For more than a decade, Maryland’s four historically black colleges and universities have been locked in a heated court battle with the state. The schools claim they’re not getting enough funding or support.

Students from Coppin State and the other schools packed into the courtroom. Many of them tell WJZ, more resources are needed to ensure these schools can survive.

“You don’t see McDonald’s operating and establishing two McDonald’s on the same block,” says DeJuan Patterson at a rally on Tuesday.

Students from the state’s four historically black colleges and universities fight against a policy, that allows other state schools to duplicate their specialty programs.

A sticking point in a lawsuit, claiming the state underfunds and under supports the schools.

“Our education matters. Our HBCU matters.”

Students from Morgan, Coppin, and Bowie State Universities, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore rally against inequality outside federal court.

In 2013, a federal judge agreed that state policies hurt diversity, but an agreement to fix the problem never happened.
The HBCU’s argue that when a traditional school duplicates one of their programs, it puts the historically black institutions at a disadvantage.
“We work very, very hard at our institutions to get an education and we believe that we should get the quality educations, with the quality programs and the quality funding,” says HBCU student Chinedu Nwokeafor,
“The unnecessary duplication of the programs takes away from our population,” says Joshua Harris, alumni Morgan State University.
After more than a decade of fighting in court, the students make their strongest push yet.
A spokesperson for the Maryland Higher Education Commission tells WJZ, they cannot comment at this time because the case is still ongoing.
“We stopped being 3/5’s human and it’s time that our institutions stop being 3/5’s of a university,” says Bowie State University student Phylecia Faublas.

Now that the hearings are done, the judge will make a decision. Organizers say if they have to keep fighting, they will, even if it means the supreme court.

HBCU faculty members say funding is needed to fix the outdated facilities.

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