ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Historically black colleges and universities and Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration remain at odds over the settlement of a dispute that dates back more than a decade.
The four HBCUs in Maryland, including Coppin State and Morgan State Universities in Baltimore, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, are the subject of a 2006 case finding the state undermined them by better-funding duplicate programs at traditionally white schools.
The Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. has been representing the schools for 13 years.
“(The state) essentially (gave) substantial sums of money to traditionally white institutions across the state, allowing them to set up competitor programs that essentially doomed the HBCUs to failure,” said Kristin Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law.
In the latest effort to find a remedy, Hogan has offered the universities $200 million to settle the lawsuit.
The governor’s chief counsel in a letter said, “Governor Hogan remains interested in resolving this matter with a comprehensive settlement. Governor Hogan is prepared to make a final offer to resolve this case of up to $200 million in funds over a ten-year period.”
That amount, though, is only about one-third of the $577 million HBCU advocates are proposing.
“The next step really should be for the state to go back, think about the paltry, inadequate sum that they have put forth to resolve this case and step up and do the right thing by the citizens of Maryland, put forth a real, meaningful number that they themselves said was needed to address the harm,” Clarke said.
At the time the case was argued, Clarke said, that sum was $1 billion.