Maryland has resolved a multimillion federal discrimination lawsuit for underfunding historically Black colleges and universities in the state.
According to the Associated Press, Maryland will pay $577 million over 10 years to Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
The State Senate approved the bill 47-0.
David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, said in a statement about the 15-year-old lawsuit, “The Maryland state legislature today took a significant step toward addressing historic inequities in Maryland higher education.”
Michael Jones, the lead counsel for The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, also added, “It’s one of the largest pro bono civil rights settlements in history, and it is the only case of its kind that had a settlement that went around the governor and directly to the legislators.” Jones worked on the measure for 12 years.
The measure’s provisions are contingent on a final settlement agreement on June 1, which is expected to go smoothly.
The settlement will be used for scholarships and financial aid support, faculty recruitment and more.
The measure will not begin payments until fiscal year 2023.