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TMCF Testifies Before Maryland Senate Committee of Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs

Washington, DC (January 30, 2014) – Standing on the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall, President-in-Residence John W. Garland, of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), testified in Annapolis before the Senate Committee of Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs on Thursday, January 29th in support of Senate Bill 169.

Sponsored by Senior Joan Conway (D – District 43), Senate Bill 169 requires the Maryland Higher Education Commission to make a determination regarding unnecessary duplication of programs after receipt of a request for such a determination from Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University, or the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore; requiring the Commission to make a determination regarding sound educational justification under specified circumstances; and, providing that specified determinations of the Commission are subject to judicial review.

“It is clear to me that the battle for equal educational opportunity, particularly in states like Maryland with a history and persistent practice of racial discrimination and segregation is one for the hardest fought battles,” said Garland.

An essential aspect of Maryland’s desegregation obligation was its requirement to establish unique, high demand programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with the expectation that students of all races would be attracted to the HBCUs. This has proven to have been effective in desegregating higher education school systems; however, in Maryland whenever an HBCU would establish a unique, high demand academic program, a nearby white institution was permitted to unnecessarily duplicate the program, which undermined the State’s obligation and responsibility to dismantle its segregated system.

“The most important desegregating tool that SB169 establishes, is that of judicial review,” Garland pointed out. “The Bill allows these HBCUs to seek judicial review of decisions of the state approving unnecessary duplication of existing programs within a specific geographically proximate.”

The judicial review provisions of SB 169 will help to assure that Maryland is in compliance with the law and should deter any lawless behavior.

“The State of Maryland has proven time and time again that it has not acted in accordance with long-established civil rights laws,” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “It is vital that organizations like TMCF stand with the HBCU community to assure that states are in compliance with the law and not purposefully ignored.”

About the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice. Established in 1987, TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending its 47 member-schools that include public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), medical schools and law schools. TMCF helps students with a clear intention and the motivation to succeed and acquire a high-quality college education at an affordable cost. TMCF is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, charitable organization and for more information about TMCF and its initiatives, visit