Less than a month before they were set to go to trial, the state of Maryland has agreed to talk about a settlement agreement with a coalition representing Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities.
The meeting is set to take place on Monday in Baltimore’s U.S. District Court.
The litigation has been ongoing for the past five years. The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education claims that Maryland’s Higher Education Commission is still using discriminatory policies that are rooted in segregation and that Black schools consequently are underfunded.
Last month at a hearing assistant Attorney General Campbell Killefer asked the court to “dismiss the case entirely,” because there was no proof of discrimination.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake, however, refuted Killefer’s argument. In an 11-page memorandum filed on June 6, she explains that the plaintiffs are only required to show that alleged discriminatory practices are traceable to "practices that were instituted in the past for segregative reasons."
Michael D. Jones, an attorney representing the colleges, tells the Baltimore Sun that the outcome of the meeting has the potential to be a “significant development.”