State Assembly Passes Bill Authorizing $577 Million in Relief for the State’s HBCUs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Kirkland & Ellis LLP, counsel for plaintiffs in the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education vs. MHEC, issued the following statement regarding the Maryland General Assembly’s passage (45-0) of HB1260:
“We applaud the two houses of the Maryland General Assembly for passing landmark legislation intended to settle the constitutional violation found by Judge Catherine C. Blake in the long-running HBCU litigation. We are hopeful that the Governor will sign the bill and we can work with Attorney General Frosh in finalizing a settlement.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said: “This is truly historic. The legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly was unanimous, veto-proof and moves us closer to finalizing a resolution to our long, protracted battle against the state of Maryland regarding its inequitable and unconstitutional treatment of the state’s HBCUs. We applaud lawmakers for putting in place bi-partisan legislation that can bring overdue relief for HBCUs in Maryland.”
Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education vs. MHEC is one of the most significant higher education desegregation cases in the last two decades. Maryland was found to have violated the constitution by failing to enable Maryland’s four Historically Black Institutions (HBIs) to develop unique and high-demand programs that are able to attract students of all races. Only 1.4 percent of white students in Maryland higher education go to the HBIs. The State was ordered to remedy the lack of investment in the State’s historically black colleges and universities, in an effort to resolve this decade-old lawsuit over inequality in public higher education.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommitee.org.