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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Steve Ruckman, 410-576-7035
sruckman@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Issues Statement on
The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et. al v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et. al

BALTIMORE, MD ( May 26, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler issued the following statement today regarding The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et al. v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et. al (“Coalition v. MHEC”), in order to correct factual inaccuracies that have been contained in recent media reports:

“Statements have been made in the media recently suggesting that the State believes that its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are not needed.  These media statements have been made in connection with our Office’s litigation of The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, et. al v. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et. al.  I am going on record to say that these statements are wrong.  Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities are a critical asset in the State’s higher education scheme, and they are very much needed.  We are fortunate to have four outstanding HBCUs in Maryland - Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore - and our Office has always been committed to supporting their institutional goals.  Our commitment is shown by our efforts to advance equity in higher education, for example through our recent comprehensive report advising colleges and universities of the ways in which they legally can and should invigorate their admissions and hiring practices in order to ensure robust diversity in their student bodies and faculties (http://www.oag.state.md.us/Reports/OAG_Diversity_Paper.pdf).  More broadly, our commitment is shown by our efforts to fight against instances of discrimination wherever they exist in this State.”

“In Coalition v. MHEC, plaintiffs are alleging that the State continues to run a segregated higher education system, which they claim is evidenced by program duplication and capital and program underfunding.  Our Office is tasked with defending the State, and has been arguing that the State has in fact worked hard to erase any vestiges of discrimination in its higher education system.  We have not at any point been arguing that HBCUs are not a vital part of this system.  To the contrary, in our most recent hearing in the case, we pointed out their value repeatedly and we called Maryland’s past history of segregation in higher education ‘morally reprehensible’ and unconstitutional.  In short, we have never argued that HBCUs are not valuable to the State.”

“Let me reiterate that we have always been of the view that HBCUs provide a much-needed set of educational opportunities in Maryland.  Reports to the contrary misrepresent the position of our Office, and misrepresent its strong commitment to quality and diversity in Maryland higher education.”
   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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