A group of alumni from Maryland's four Historically Black Colleges and Universities is celebrating a small victory after a federal court decided to appoint a special official to course-correct the lack of investment in the state’s HBCUs.
For little over a decade, the alumni from Morgan State University, Coppin State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Bowie State University have been locked in litigation with the state to dismantle what they say is racial segregation, the Washington Post reports.
The group claims that the state has both underfunded the schools' programs, and allowed other institutions to duplicate the HBCUs' signature programs.
Together, the alumni claim these two things have significantly decreased enrollment to the four HBCUs.
In order to fix these issues, the alumni group has pushed for years for increased state funding for their schools, and for the University of Baltimore to merge with Morgan State.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that neither of those plans were going to happen, saying that neither idea is "practicable, educationally sound, and sufficient to address segregative harms of program duplication."
Instead, Blake decided that a special official would be appointed to remedy the issue. This official will create a plan that solves the underfunding issue, per The Associated Press."Crafting such a plan is a daunting task requiring the good faith collaboration of the coalition and the state," Blake wrote. "The court urges such collaboration to strengthen and enhance Maryland's HBI's for the benefit of all Maryland students, present and future."
In 2013, a court ruled that "a dual and segregated education system" was in place in Maryland that violated the Constitution.
Blake's decision is reminiscent of the 2013 decision which stated that Maryland could not “maintain the vestiges of the prior ... system of segregation in the form of unnecessary program duplication in the public higher education system.”