HBCU ‘Equality’ Lawsuit: The State’s Astounding Expert

Friday, February 10, 2012

In an unusual and confounding move, attorneys for Maryland relied on an expert witness who acknowledged that he never visited the four Black institutions before concluding that they had received sufficient state funding over the past years to remedy past racial discrimination. Instead he relied upon his own computation of state funding based upon proportional student enrollment at each of the States public colleges and universities, a methodology that has been discredited in similar lawsuits in other states.

The expert, Allan J. Lichtman, a history professor at American University in Washington, D.C., testified: “The bottom line is the state has been investing substantial amounts of capital [and operational] allocations over a 27-year period in the historically Black institutions relative to the six non-historically Black institutions, not counting the University of Maryland-College Park.”

Lichtman chose to exclude University of Maryland-College Park in his analysis apparently due to his concern that its inclusion would create a skewed statistical picture.

Lichtman’s testimony last week was part of a larger effort to prove that the state of Maryland has done more than enough to remedy past racial discrimination. The testimony was given as part of $2.1 billion suited filed in 2006 to compel the state to make its four HBCUs –Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Coppin State University and the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore – “comparable and competitive.”

While neglecting to adequately fund the four Black universities, the suit contends, White state institutions of higher education the University of Maryland- College Park, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Towson University and Salisbury University (TWIs)– were provided resources that gave them significant advantages over HBCUs.

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