Some of Maryland’s Black lawmakers were insulted by the amount of funding Gov. Larry Hogan proposed on Wednesday to satisfy a lawsuit over the state’s inequitable funding of four public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Hogan, a Republican, offered up to $100 million over 10 years. He notified the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland Chairwoman Cheryl Glenn of his proposal in a letter, according to Afro.com. This comes after a federal court ordered Maryland in November to correct its public higher education investment disparity.
“We are happy that the governor is in the frame of mind to resolve this lawsuit,” Glenn said. However, she viewed that offer as just a starting point to resolve a legal dispute that goes back to 2006 between the state and the universities (Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore).
Publicly funded HBCUs, like the ones in Maryland, are struggling to survive financially. For decades, state governments have underfunded them compared to predominantly White state institutions. Unlike flagship state universities, the Black universities charge much lower tuition, enroll fewer students and receive smaller private donations.
At the same time, there’s a widespread legacy of discrimination and neglect from state governments. Eighteen HBCUs in several states had not received nearly $57 million of state funding, according to a 2013 report from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.
Other lawmakers were less generous than Glenn in their response to Hogan’s offer. “That’s like throwing peanuts at a very gigantic problem,” Del. Nick Mosby said after breaking down the numbers. The four HBCUs would receive about $2.5 million per year over a decade. Hogan’s offer is also getting a cold response outside the Legislature. David Burton, the lead plaintiff in the case, described the $100 million as a “slap in the face.”