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Students and supporters of Maryland's historically black colleges and universities gathered in Annapolis Monday night to call for increased funding for their institutions, which have long been underfunded due to segregation-era policies, according to a lawsuit. News4 Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins has more on what it means to local students.
Students held a rally at Maryland’s State House Monday hoping to get more funding for the state’s four historically black colleges and universities.
Sequoya Patterson went from Connecticut to Prince George’s County to attend Bowie State University because she knew it was the school for her.
“It was just a family home feel that I got from the campus and the different students I met while I was here,” she said.
It’s that same feeling that propelled her and thousands of other students who attend Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities to rally in Annapolis Monday.
“Even though this is a recession and all schools are struggling and making cuts, it doesn’t make sense that we are so underfunded,” Bowie State student Richard Lucas III said.
For years, legislators have debated how to right decades of underfunding for Maryland’s historically black colleges.
“The state of Maryland has really documented the impacts of the underfunding that the state has readily said that it did,” said Delegate Aisha Braveboy Esq., chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.
The issue landed in court last year in a still undecided case called the Coalition of Excellence vs. the State of Maryland. Proponents not only want equal funding today, but money paid from underfunding in the past.
“Education and the job market is an international thing, so we’re not only not on par with the state of Maryland but internationally as well,” said Larry Stafford Jr., president of the Prince George’s Young Democrats.
It’s an issue of particular importance for many in Prince George’s County. Prince George’s County is predominately black, and about 60 percent of black students choose to attend historically black colleges and universities in the state.