A coalition of college graduates filed a lawsuit in 2006, alleging that the state caused damage to the HBCUs’ enrollment by letting other state colleges duplicate programs that once attracted a diverse student body to the historically black institutions.
“The issue of program duplication has lingered for far too long and is a blemish on our state’s strong system of higher education,” Jones (D-Baltimore County) said in a statement.
The bill, which was not available for review Thursday, would require Hogan to spend $580 million over 10 years on the four colleges and universities. The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, which includes alumni from the HBCUs, had proposed a $577 million settlement to lawmakers last year.
The proposed funding in Jones’s bill is almost three times as much as Hogan has offered to settle the lawsuit. An attorney for the governor said the $200 million counter offer, which was substantially more than his predecessor made, was a final offer. The black caucus called the offer low ball.
Jones’s legislation is the latest attempt to force a settlement. Earlier this year, advocates for the colleges, including black churches and fraternities and sororities, launched a public campaign to draw attention to the lawsuit.
Jones is the first African American to serve as Maryland House speaker.