JOIN THE FIGHT! 

WE RAISED AWARENESS AT THE
HBCU CALL TO ACTION RALLY 
IN ANNAPOLIS ON NOVEMBER 13, 2019

IN MARCH 2020, WE ADVOCATED FOR THE PASSING OF TWO HISTORIC BILLS IN THE MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY 
HOUSE BILL 1260 & SENATE BILL 1043 

ON MARCH 24, 2021, UPON THE PASSING OF HOUSE BILL 1 & SENATE BILL 1 IN THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION, WE WITNESSED
THE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND
SIGN THE BILLS INTO LAW!

THE MARYLAND HBCU LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT
WAS SIGNED BY THE STATE OF MARYLAND AND THE COALITION FOR EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE IN MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION
ON APRIL 27TH
ENDING THE 15-YEAR LAWSUIT.

"THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES
TO POSITION MARYLAND HBCUs TO MAKE AN
ENHANCED CONTRIBUTION TO OUR STATE'S
HIGHER EDUCATION AGENDA..."
                                                                                                                         ~ Dr. Alvin Thornton                

PARTNER WITH US

STAND WITH US

Legislative
Black Caucus
of Maryland, Inc.
LBC.jpg

“The lawsuit should be settled close to what the courts have said, which is a billion dollars to $2 billion dollars,” said Del. Darryl Barnes, a Prince George’s County Democrat and chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Capital Gazette

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Maryland HBCU Advocates
Untitled design (10).png

"...HBCUs have done nothing wrong. They did not mismanage money. This is not the issue. These HBCUs...have been discriminated against... historically, in the state of Maryland. To correct that wrong, federal judge Catherine Blake said you, State of Maryland, are liable for a 10 to 1 disparity in programs, you are liable for unconstitutionally, unnecessarily duplicating programs. And so you need to fund high-demand, unique programs at all four HBCUs."  Sharon Y. Blake, MD HBCU Advocates, The Hechinger Report

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
 
The Power Bloc
WOL  1450AM
WOLDCNews.com 
WOL.PNG

"We look forward to a partnership that maximizes our efforts to bring awareness to the community and to your cause - saving Maryland HBCUs."

Mike Jones, The Power Bloc

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Power%20Bloc_edited.jpg
Color
Of
Change
Untitled design (6).png

"We’re proud to partner with Maryland HBCU advocates in calling on @LarryHogan to do the right thing and pay Maryland HBCUs their proper restitution."

Color Of Change Tweet (@ColorOfChange)

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
NAACP
Maryland State Conference

"Count MSC as an official partner in saving Maryland HBCUs."

Willie Flowers, President

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Untitled design (28).png
HBCU
Collective

Proud Partner in the fight.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Untitled design (90).png
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)

Town Hall Sponsor

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Untitled design (30).png
Baltimore Teachers Union

Proud Partner in the fight.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Untitled design (31).png
Reginald F. Lewis Museum

Town Hall Host

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Reginald F. Lewis Museum.png
Prince George's County Educators' Association

Town Hall Host

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
PGCEA.png
University of Maryland Eastern Shore National Alumni Association

Town Hall Host

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
UMES NAA.png
Maryland State Education Association

"MSEA continues to support efforts to maintain and promote HBCU programs and their full and equitable participation in Maryland’s academic and educational landscape. We hope to see a fair and equitable settlement that supports the invaluable contributions HBCUs make to education and equity in our state."

MSEA, Nov 13, 2019

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
MSEA.jpg
City of Baltimore

CITY OF BOWIE RESOLUTION

A COUNCIL RESOLUTION CONCERNING Historically Black Colleges and Universities Settlement

 

FOR the purpose of supporting the ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and the offer made by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Coalition regarding the lawsuit against the State and urging Governor Hogan and the General Assembly to settle the Coalition lawsuit in accordance with the Court ruling and the offer made by the Coalition.

 

WHEREAS, The State of Maryland has four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (“HBCUs”), one of which is geographically located “Greater City of Bowie area” in the City of Bowie and the others within the greater Baltimore metropolitan region; and

 

WHEREAS, HBCUs are an integral part of the Maryland higher education enterprise and provide educational opportunities for a large segment of the population of Prince George’s County and produce a continuing supply of educators for the Prince George’s County public school system; and

 

WHEREAS, HBCUs serve as economic engines in their communities by employing scores of Maryland residents and contributing enormously to the economy of Maryland through the revenue generated by these institutions and the expenditures made by students, faculty, staff, and supporters; and

 

WHEREAS, The HBCUs are major players in the social and cultural life of the City with their artifacts, athletic programs, unique lecture series, and other special events; and

 

WHEREAS, A coalition of HBCU students, alumni, faculty, and friends sued the State of Maryland in 2006, to combat segregation perpetrated by the State; and

 

WHEREAS, The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in 2013 that the State had done great harm to the HBCUs because of its unconstitutional and discriminatory practice of allowing unnecessary duplication of academic programs by non-HBCU colleges and universities; and

 

WHEREAS, The District Court ordered in 2017 that the State remedy the violation by establishing at each of the HBCUs a set of unique, high demand programs with appropriate funding for scholarships, marketing, and recruitment; and

 

WHEREAS, The HBCU Coalition recently offered to settle the case for $577 million over a 10-year period; and

 

WHEREAS, We affirm that Bowie State university’s success is important to the vitality of this City; and

 

WHEREAS, We further affirm that we stand with alumni, students, faculty, staff, and the community and pledge our allegiance to Bowie State University as it currently is constituted.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL Of BOWIE, That the City Council supports the ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and the offer made by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Coalition regarding the lawsuit against the State and urges Governor Hogan and the General Assembly to settle the Coalition lawsuit in accordance with the Court ruling and the offer made by the Coalition.

 

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Governor of Maryland, the Attorney General of Maryland, the President of Bowie State University, the Interim President of Coppin State University, the President of Morgan State University, the President of University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and the Honorable Delegation of Representatives that represent Bowie to the Maryland General Assembly.

City of Bowie
Montgomery County Council
Untitled design (21).png
Untitled design (22).png
Untitled design (23).png
Untitled design (29).png
Maryland Democratic Party
BRC%20Logo_edited.jpg
Maryland Black Republican Council
Prince George's County Council
Seal_of_Prince_George's_County,_Maryland
QED Inc.

Fighting for resource equity and quality outcomes in P-20 education systems in Maryland and in communities everywhere.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
Untitled design (4) (1).png

Proud Sponsor of the

Maryland HBCU Advocates

ABOUT OUR EFFORTS

Bowie State University

In 2006, a coalition of HBCU students, alumni and other HBCU supporters filed a lawsuit in the Maryland Federal District Court against the State of Maryland alleging that the State had failed to make HBCUs comparable and competitive with their white counterparts. Specifically, the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education maintained that the State was in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the Fordice decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in duplicating the academic programs of Historically Black Institutions at nearby predominantly White campuses; limiting HBI missions; failing to provide appropriate facilities and underfunding the overall development of the four Historically Black Institutions. 

After a failed attempt at mediation of the issues, the case went to trial in January 2012. In October 2013, Judge Catherine Blake ruled that in maintaining the practice of unnecessary program duplication between HBIs and Traditionally White Universities, Maryland continues to operate a dual and segregated system of higher education, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and to the harm of the HBIs and their students.

 

The judge asserted that the violation must be remedied and suggested that the Coalition and the state attempt to resolve it through mediation. Unfortunately, the post-trial mediation-- like the pretrial mediation-- was not successful, so the Court convened again in February 2017 to hear arguments on appropriation remedies for transforming Maryland’s dual system of higher education into a unitary or single system of colleges and universities. 

 

In November 2017, the judge issued an order providing for the establishment of new unique and high demand programs at each of the HBIs to form niches or specialty areas that would give the HBIs identities beyond their racial history. The judge’s order also provided for the appointment of a special master to work with the HBIs, Coalition experts and others in determining what the niches should be, any facilities that would be needed, and how much the enhancement effort would cost. Included among the duties of the special master is the responsibility to monitor the implementation of the court’s remedial plan to ensure that it proceeds in accordance with a schedule to be approved by the court. The judge stipulated further that funding be provided for student financial aid, marketing and recruitment and the State was to abandon the practice of unnecessary program duplication which had led to the massive disparity in academic programs between Traditionally White Institutions and the HBCUs. 

Notwithstanding decades of petitions from the HBIs; the recommendations of several state commissions and outside consultants; the Fordice ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and the November 2017 Federal District Court ruling against Maryland specifically, Maryland failures to accept responsibility for the harm it continues to do to HBIs and their students. State lawmakers seem to believe that the future of higher education in the State depends primarily on development of traditionally White campuses at the expense of its HBIs. 

In January 2018, Attorney General Brian Frosh appealed the judge’s decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Subsequently, attorneys for the Coalition appealed the judge’s positions on HBI missions, facilities and funding. Meanwhile the Governor has since sent a letter to the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus offering $100 million over ten years to settle the lawsuit. The irony is that attorneys for the State estimate the cost of the Coalition’s plan to fix the problem is between $1-2 billion and, for the Coalition to accept $100 million to settle as much as a $2 billion problem would be a downright betrayal of our students, faculty, alumni and others who have historically suffered the injustices of the State’s neglect. 

In December 2018, the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Attorney General Brian Frosh's appeal of the lower court's decision and in favor of the four HBCUs. After two hours of oral arguments before a three-judge panel, Federal Judges Steven Agee, Stephanie Thacker and J. Harvie Wilkinson, wasted no time issuing an order January 2, for the parties to 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 divisive litigation that will only work to the detriment higher education in Maryland.”

This case has been going on for more than 13 years but the injustice to the HBIs and their students has endured since public education in the State began and the State needs to adhere to the federal court's orders.

 

We are calling upon the Governor, the Attorney General, and the leadership of the Maryland General Assembly to begin immediately to implement Judge Blake’s order!

 

TIMELINE OF HBCU LAWSUIT EFFORTS

Source: The Afro American Newspapers

1974

The Backstory – What Led to the HBCU Equity Lawsuit Being Filed?

In 1974, the state of Maryland devised a plan to achieve Black-White equity in higher education. Two years later, the U.S. Department of Education‘s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informed the State of Maryland that the plan was not being appropriately implemented and threatened to block Maryland’s share of federal funds to achieve enforcement.  

The State filed a lawsuit against OCR preventing them from withholding federal funds. Negotiations between the State and OCR continued and in 1980, the state submitted a second desegregation plan.  OCR found this plan insufficient as well.

In 1985, after continued negotiations, Maryland and OCR agreed on a third desegregation plan. The Coalition asserts that the 1985 agreement has never been sufficiently enacted, leaving the state’s HBCUs underfunded, while the state uses its policy-making capability to advance predominantly White institutions (PWIs.)

Partnership Agreement

2000

2000 Partnership Agreement:  Maryland signs a partnership agreement with the OCR (federal government) agreeing to make its four Historically Black Institutions comparable and competitive to the Traditionally White Institutions in all respects; to avoid unnecessary program duplication between Historically Black Institutions and Traditionally White universities; and to conduct a study of the status and special needs of Coppin University. 

HBCU Equity Lawsuit 

2006

The Coalition files the Equity Lawsuit. The case was originally filed in a Maryland state court before it was re-filed in the Federal District Court.   The HBCU equity lawsuit asserts that the State of Maryland violated HBCU students’ rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14thAmendment – i.e. Maryland continues to operate a system of higher education that discriminates against HBCU students.

HBCU Equity Lawsuit Liability Trial

2012

Liability trial held January to February in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Judge Catherine E. Blake presiding.  

Court Rules in Favor of Coalition for Equity and Excellence

2013

Judge Catherine E. Blake rules in favor of the HBCU plaintiffs, determining that Maryland continues to operate a de jure system of discrimination against HBCUs. “Students who enter Maryland’s historically Black institutions – whether Black, White, or of other races – do not have an equal educational opportunity as those students who attend the state’s traditionally White institutions,” she wrote in her opinion.

 Mediation Ordered by The Court

2013-2015

Judge Blake orders the parties – HBCU plaintiffs and State of Maryland to develop a remedy for the discriminatory pattern of academic program duplication that put HBCUs at a disadvantage.  Plaintiffs submit remedial plan.  State of Maryland fails to submit a comprehensive plan to address program duplication.

Mediation Fails – Blake Sets Court Date for Remedial Trial

2016

In December 2016 Judge Catherine E. Blake orders the Coalition and State to return to court for trial in 2017 after mediation fails.

HBCU Equity Remedial Trial

2017

Witnesses for the remedial portion of the HBCU Lawsuit conclude testimony in February 2017.  The court will set a post-trial briefing schedule of 90 days after which the Court will reconvene parties for closing arguments in the courtroom. (May-early June 2017)   

2017

1st Failed Legislative Action Linked To HBCU Equity Trial

The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus introduces SB 712 which guarantees equity in funding for Maryland’s HBCUs. Hearing scheduled in Annapolis, March 7. General Assembly adjourns without passing any bills to help HBCUs. 

2017

Attorney General Brian Frosh Files Appeal To Dismiss HBCU Lawsuit

On December 7, 2017, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and the private law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP hired by his office and paid for by Maryland taxpayers, filed an appeal to dismiss the lawsuit in favor of defendants. Thei appeal argues that their evidence discredits claims of liability for not erasing "a policy of unnecessary program duplication traceable to the pre-Brown era of de jure segregation in Maryland’s system of public higher education." If successful, Frosh's appeal would end the lawsuit and the state would not be required to address the concerns of the HBCU coalition. 

2018

Governor Larry Hogan Offers $100 Million To Settle Lawsuit

On February 10, 2018, Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to the Maryland Black Caucus offering $100 Million to settle the lawsuit. Michael Jones, an attorney for the HBCUs, said the offer represents a “step toward a meaningful remedy.” “But it is not the end of the journey,” he said. Jones said he believes a proper remedy must start with identifying the new programs that will be developed at each HBCU and then later attaching a price tag.

2018

2nd Failed Legislative Action Linked To HBCU Equity Trial 

In spite of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus listing passing HBCU legislation as their #1 priority and introducing four separate bills, the General Assembly again adjourns on April 9 without passing any bills to help HBCUs. 

2018

Withdraw The Appeal Rally 

On Friday, May 18, 2018, activists held a protest rally outside the offices of Maryland Attorney General's office to demand withdrawal of the appeal and begin negotiations to enact Judge Blake's decision. 

2019

Maryland Appeals

The State of Maryland appeals Judge Blake's ruling.

 

TIMELINE OF HBCU LAWSUIT EFFORTS

Source: The Afro American Newspapers

1974

The Backstory – What Led to the HBCU Equity Lawsuit Being Filed?

In 1974, the state of Maryland devised a plan to achieve Black-White equity in higher education. Two years later, the U.S. Department of Education‘s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informed the State of Maryland that the plan was not being appropriately implemented and threatened to block Maryland’s share of federal funds to achieve enforcement.  

The State filed a lawsuit against OCR preventing them from withholding federal funds. Negotiations between the State and OCR continued and in 1980, the state submitted a second desegregation plan.  OCR found this plan insufficient as well.

In 1985, after continued negotiations, Maryland and OCR agreed on a third desegregation plan. The Coalition asserts that the 1985 agreement has never been sufficiently enacted, leaving the state’s HBCUs underfunded, while the state uses its policy-making capability to advance predominantly White institutions (PWIs.)

Partnership Agreement

2000

2000 Partnership Agreement:  Maryland signs a partnership agreement with the OCR (federal government) agreeing to make its four Historically Black Institutions comparable and competitive to the Traditionally White Institutions in all respects; to avoid unnecessary program duplication between Historically Black Institutions and Traditionally White universities; and to conduct a study of the status and special needs of Coppin University. 

HBCU Equity Lawsuit 

2006

The Coalition files the Equity Lawsuit. The case was originally filed in a Maryland state court before it was re-filed in the Federal District Court.   The HBCU equity lawsuit asserts that the State of Maryland violated HBCU students’ rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14thAmendment – i.e. Maryland continues to operate a system of higher education that discriminates against HBCU students.

HBCU Equity Lawsuit Liability Trial

2012

Liability trial held January to February in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Judge Catherine E. Blake presiding.  

Court Rules in Favor of Coalition for Equity and Excellence

2013

Judge Catherine E. Blake rules in favor of the HBCU plaintiffs, determining that Maryland continues to operate a de jure system of discrimination against HBCUs. “Students who enter Maryland’s historically Black institutions – whether Black, White, or of other races – do not have an equal educational opportunity as those students who attend the state’s traditionally White institutions,” she wrote in her opinion.

 Mediation Ordered by The Court

2013-2015

Judge Blake orders the parties – HBCU plaintiffs and State of Maryland to develop a remedy for the discriminatory pattern of academic program duplication that put HBCUs at a disadvantage.  Plaintiffs submit remedial plan.  State of Maryland fails to submit a comprehensive plan to address program duplication.

Mediation Fails – Blake Sets Court Date for Remedial Trial

2016

In December 2016 Judge Catherine E. Blake orders the Coalition and State to return to court for trial in 2017 after mediation fails.

HBCU Equity Remedial Trial

2017

Witnesses for the remedial portion of the HBCU Lawsuit conclude testimony in February 2017.  The court will set a post-trial briefing schedule of 90 days after which the Court will reconvene parties for closing arguments in the courtroom. (May-early June 2017)   

2017

1st Failed Legislative Action Linked To HBCU Equity Trial

The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus introduces SB 712 which guarantees equity in funding for Maryland’s HBCUs. Hearing scheduled in Annapolis, March 7. General Assembly adjourns without passing any bills to help HBCUs. 

2017

Attorney General Brian Frosh Files Appeal To Dismiss HBCU Lawsuit

On December 7, 2017, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, and the private law firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP hired by his office and paid for by Maryland taxpayers, filed an appeal to dismiss the lawsuit in favor of defendants. Thei appeal argues that their evidence discredits claims of liability for not erasing "a policy of unnecessary program duplication traceable to the pre-Brown era of de jure segregation in Maryland’s system of public higher education." If successful, Frosh's appeal would end the lawsuit and the state would not be required to address the concerns of the HBCU coalition. 

2018

Governor Larry Hogan Offers $100 Million To Settle Lawsuit

On February 10, 2018, Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to the Maryland Black Caucus offering $100 Million to settle the lawsuit. Michael Jones, an attorney for the HBCUs, said the offer represents a “step toward a meaningful remedy.” “But it is not the end of the journey,” he said. Jones said he believes a proper remedy must start with identifying the new programs that will be developed at each HBCU and then later attaching a price tag.

2018

2nd Failed Legislative Action Linked To HBCU Equity Trial 

In spite of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus listing passing HBCU legislation as their #1 priority and introducing four separate bills, the General Assembly again adjourns on April 9 without passing any bills to help HBCUs. 

2018

Withdraw The Appeal Rally 

On Friday, May 18, 2018, activists held a protest rally outside the offices of Maryland Attorney General's office to demand withdrawal of the appeal and begin negotiations to enact Judge Blake's decision. 

2019

Maryland Appeals

The State of Maryland appeals Judge Blake's ruling.

2019

Call To Action Rally

On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, Maryland HBCU Advocates in partnership with Senator Charles Sydnor and the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus organized a rally held in Annapolis, MD outside the House and Senate office buildings. The rally was held to raise awareness and draw attention to the unsuccessful court-ordered negotiations between the State of Maryland and the Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, and to call on legislators to take up the matter during the 2020 Maryland Legislative session. The newly elected Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, members of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus led by Delegate Darryl Barnes, State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy, Coalition Counsel Mike Jones, and Maryland HBCU Alumni addressed the crowd.  The Speaker gave her assurances that the settlement of the lawsuit would be a priority for the legislature during the upcoming legislative session.  A series of Town Halls were held following the rally.

2020

Maryland General Assembly Passes HBCU Funding Bill

The HBCU Funding Bill was entered as HB 1260 and SB 1043 during the 2020 Maryland General Assembly, sponsored in the House of Delegates by Speaker of the House, Adrienne Jones, and in the Senate by Senator Charles Sydnor.  The bill passed by unanimous vote in the Senate, and by all but two votes in favor in the House of Delegates.  The bill was vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan.  The 2020 legislative session ended early due to the COVID pandemic and a veto override did not occur.  The bill died on December 11, 2020 as per the deadline indicated in the legislation.

2021

Maryland General Assembly Re-Introduces HBCU Funding Bill

The HBCU Funding Bill was re-introduced during the 2021 Maryland General Assembly legislative session, as Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1. The chief sponsors of each respectively, Senator Charles Sydnor and Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones.  

Maryland HBCU Advocates participate in the Black Law Student Forum Symposium at the University of Baltimore Law School, "HBCUs v. Maryland: Is There a Solution in Sight?"  (February 4, 2021) 

2021

Maryland Governor Signs HBCU Funding Bill

On March 24, 2021, upon the passing of House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1 in the 2021 Maryland General Assembly, Governor Larry Hogan signed both bills into law! 

 
 
CONTACT MARYLAND HBCU ADVOCATES 

Members: 

Sharon Y. Blake, Spokesperson

Brandon Cooper

Deanna Ikhinmwin

Cheryl McCleod

Kayla Moore

Le Shaun Quander-Mosley

Chinedu Nwokeafor

T. Michael Peay

Jean Richie

Zattura Sims-El

Dr. Alvin Thornton

Fedelis Tucker

Email: mdhbcuadvocates@gmail.com

Facebook: fb.me/savemdhbcus 

Twitter: @savemdhbcus