David Wilson, the president of Morgan State University is currently involved in what some may call the modern day Brown vs. Board of Education, the higher learning edition. The president was one of the first witnesses to testify in the case of the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education vs. the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
According to an article from Afro.com, the lawsuit, which was filed in 2006, is seeking $2.1 billion to ensure that the HBCU’s of Maryland (Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and University of Maryland- Eastern Shore) can on the same level academically and financially compared to Maryland’s TWI’s (Traditionally White Institutions). Maryland’s TWI’s include Salisbury University, Towson University, University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland University College.
The state of Maryland has been accused of running a “de jure segregation system” – a racially segregated system enforced by law. Maryland admits to having a de jure segregation system, but assures that it was put to rest with the 1954 case of Brown vs. Board of Education and no such policies are in practice today. The coalition however insists that the segregation is being practiced as far as funds are concerned.
This was the central point of President Wilson’s testimony. The president described the battle Morgan’s students face due to its lack of funding, the building maintenance and the strain it puts on the overworked faculty members. Students have been denied internships due to lack of proper equipment to undergird the students. One student, Muriel Thompson, called the condition of some of Morgan’s buildings “deplorable” and says if it wasn’t for her love for Morgan and her determination to receive a degree from the University, she would have “…turned around, the moment I stepped in Jenkins (an academic building on campus).” The prosecution team provided reports dating back to 1937, showing evidence of Maryland’s continuous acts of segregation in the education system.
The trial, which began on January 3, is said to last about six weeks. Stay updated with HBCU Buzz as we give you continuous details and the verdict.