On Tuesday, three HBCU alumni filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Georgia Board of Regents for allegedly failing to equally fund the state’s public historically Black universities.
According to Blavity, the lawsuit alleges that the Georgia Board of Regents took resources away from HBCUs and directed them toward predominately white institutions. It also says that Georgia’s three public HBCUs rely on state funding more than other institutions and that there are currently no alumni serving on the board.
“There should not be two systems of education in Georgia,” said Carlos Moore, one of the attorneys on the case.
According to State Representative Sandra Scott, Fort Valley State would have received an “additional $603 million over the last 30 years if funded at the same level as the University of Georgia.”
Recent Fort Valley State graduate Matrice Herring is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. She said that she hopes the lawsuit will help students planning to attend the Georgia HBCUs.
“It means a lot. It could help them, help them financially, help them go to a better, beautiful school than it is now, help them grow as a person, help them get a better experience in college,” said Herrington. “Sometimes you have to speak up for what you want.”
Herring said her experience at Fort Valley State was affected due to the lack of funding in that more housing was needed, the buildings were old and the elevators frequently broke during her time as a student.
According to NBC affiliate, WXIA-TV, the suit cites several legal precedents like Brown vs. Board of Education.
“Separate but equal is not constitutional in the field of education. We’re also suing under the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin,” said John Moore, one of the attorneys on the case.
Dr. James Beverley, the minority leader of the Georgia General Assembly is calling on state officials to make things right with the underfunding of the three Georgia HBCUs.
“To Gov. Kemp, to the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, ‘Have you… ever held back resources from those who need it most?'” asked Dr. Beverly.