BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The state of Maryland is still locking horns with students and alumni from its Historically Black Colleges and Universities over inequality.
More arguments in the 12-year-long saga were heard Tuesday in the U.S. district court of appeals in Virginia.
Overflowing a U.S. district courthouse hallway in Richmond, Virginia Tuesday was roughly 80 students and alumni from Morgan, Coppin, and Bowie State Universities and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.
The group watched another appeals hearing in the 12-year-long court battle between the HBCU Matters coalition and the state of Maryland.
“It’s dragged on because the state does not solve the problem,” said Jon Greenbaum of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The lawsuit, which stretches back to 2006, contends that the state has underfunded and undermined its HBCUs, allowing specialty programs which once drew a diverse student body, to be replicated at traditionally white universities.
“We stopped being three-fifths human,” said Phylecia Fabulas, a student at Bowie State University. “And it’s time that our institutions stop being three-fifths of a university.”
Passionate students have rallied for years on this issue, calling it a civil rights violation.
Earlier in the year, legislators who support them rejected a deal from the governor that would give each institution $2.5 million every year for 10 years, saying that it’s not enough cash to fix a big problem.
“What Maryland has sort of suggested by the way its acted, is that the historically black institutions are second-class institutions,” said Greenbaum. “Which frankly is offensive.”
As this case has dragged on, both parties are running out of options as the bad blood between students, their supporters, and the state continues to run deeper.
The three judges who heard Tuesday’s argument will have several months to decide but encouraged settling out of the state.