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Numbers show Morgan State is, and always has been, underfunded by Maryland | READER COMMENTARY

Chinedu Nwokeafor, an alumnus of Morgan State University, speaks during a rally in support of Maryland's four historically black colleges in Annapolis on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.
Chinedu Nwokeafor, an alumnus of Morgan State University, speaks during a rally in support of Maryland's four historically black colleges in Annapolis on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (Brian Witte/AP)

Until reparations are made for historically black colleges and universities in Maryland, Morgan State University will always be considered an underfunded institution of higher learning (“Morgan State underfunded? That’s a myth,” Feb. 14). Here is why.

In an extensive report (“The Budget Analyst’s Influence in the Budgeting Process”) I wrote in 1991 regarding Maryland’s budgeting process, research for a segment of time from 1986 to 1991 revealed that historically black colleges and universities in Maryland (including Morgan) never received more than 13% of total higher education general funds. From 1986 to 1991, Morgan received between 4% to 6% of the 13% allotted for HBCU’s.

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The 13% annual pre-planned allotment was a travesty of justice as all HBCUs had to scramble for a portion of the 13%. If one HBCU got 6%, the others had to split the remaining 7%. Never, during the years researched, did the state of Maryland go beyond the 13%. University of Maryland College Park received 33.9%-to-35%. University of Maryland at Baltimore received between 17.6% and 19.3%, Towson received 7.3%-to-7.7%. On the other hand, HBCUs like Bowie received between 2.2% and 2.5%; UMES, 2.3%-to-2.5%; and Coppin 2.1%-to-2.2%.

Over the years and more recently, the state has attempted to correct the injustice, but its past budgeting policies and appropriation of funds for higher education has done great harm to HBCUs and African Americans in Maryland. If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were here today, his dream would be to correct this injustice.

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Reparations are in order and and are sorely needed to bring all institutions of higher learning to the same level and to move Maryland’s universities and colleges forward. The time is now.

Jennifer Coates, Baltimore

The writer is a graduate of Morgan State University’s Master City and Regional Planning Program.

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