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HBCUs Reject Governor Hogan’s $200 Million Offer to Settle Lawsuit

The state of Maryland’s offer to settle a lawsuit filed by four historically black colleges and universities has been rejected by the plaintiff’s attorney bringing to halt various efforts pushed over the years to resolve the case.

Last week, Governor Larry Hogan’s attorney Robert F. Scholz wrote a letter to Del. Darryl Barnes, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, offering a final $200 million settlement to bring an end to the lawsuit filed by Coppin State University,  Morgan State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland, the Maryland Matters reported. Last year, the Hogan administration offered $100 million to HBCUs to settle the lawsuit.

Filed in 2006, the lawsuit alleges the state administration of underfunding the four HBCUs that are collectively known in the lawsuit as the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education. It also alleges the state of providing better-funding to duplicate programs at traditionally white schools.

“It is critical that any resolution of this case recognize the significant strides made by the State of Maryland to remedy these historic inequities over the administrations of the last four governors working with their partners in the legislature,” Scholz wrote in letter.

The case was put on mediation in December. Earlier this month, the four institutions had also written a letter to the legislators wherein they offered to settle the lawsuit for $577 million in compensation over “a reasonable time period.”

Michael D. Jones, the attorney for HBCUs, said the state is “still not serious about remedying a constitutional violation that Judge Blake said was as bad as, if not worse than, Mississippi.”

Jones was referring to U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake‘s conclusion that equated duplication of programs to that of segregation and sought measures to remedy the discrimination.

Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Barnes also said that the amount offered by Gov. Hogan was “extremely low.”

“To say this is my final demand without having conversation and dialogue, at least with the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus […] is not a move that shows good faith in the process,” Barnes said. “The number is extremely low.”

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