Hundreds of students and supporters of Maryland's historically black colleges and universities rallied Monday in Annapolis to press for increased state funding to make up for decades of discrimination.
The presidents of Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore joined civil rights leaders and several politicians in front of the State House to call on Gov. Martin O'Malley to settle a lawsuit alleging the schools have been underfunded at least since the 1930s. They called on the administration to pledge $70 million over the next five years to increase student financial aid and hire more full-time faculty at the schools.
"We're here today to seek justice for historically black colleges and universities in the state of Maryland," said Del. Aisha N. Braveboy, a Prince George's County Democrat. Braveboy, who heads the Legislative Black Caucus, called on O'Malley to "be a leader in providing parity" for the schools.
School officials and their supporters say graduation rates at Maryland's historically black schools suffer because of inadequate financial aid for their students, who are often poorer than those at other colleges and universities. The historically black schools also argue their students are being short-changed by faculties heavy on part-time adjunct instructors.