Maryland HBCU Faculty Plan Rally at State Capitol

Faculty members from Maryland’s four historically black colleges and universities will hold a rally this week to protest inequitable funding from the state towards its HBCUs, and the unsatisfactory remedies it has promoted to fix the separate-but-equal system of higher education for black and white students.

The Afro-American Newspaper reports on the rally planned for Mar. 2 in Annapolis, which is likely to be attended by students and alumni from Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland — Eastern Shore.

Faculty leadership from the two schools say that the assembly will attempt to raise public awareness about the disparities between Maryland’s historically black and predominantly white colleges, and to emphasize the state’s continuing maltreatment of its HBCUs through a proposal to create collaborative programs between HBCUs and PWIs, while funding these programs with $50 million over five years. From the Afro-American:

“This is an opportunity to inform public opinion on what the state proposed. As faculty, it doesn’t meet our needs. We want to raise awareness. We’re not just asking for money; we’re asking for the opportunity to have equity across the universities,” said Claudia Nelson, faculty senate chair, Coppin State University. “A grant program of $10 million to be shared across HBCUs and TWIs is inadequate. It does not come anywhere near the funding of the needs of institutions in terms of enhancement and programs. The state, making those proposals, undermined HBCUs in a way that is shameful.”

In 2013, federal judge Catherine Blake ruled that the state had willfully duplicated unique programs originated at the state’s four black colleges amongst its predominantly white colleges, limiting enrollment and diversity at the HBCUs, along with potential funding which typically accompanies expansion.