Are Maryland’s  four historically black colleges — Morgan State, Coppin State, Bowie State, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore — more segregated and generally worse off than they were a few decades ago?

So argued a lawsuit filed on behalf of the schools a number of years ago — and brought to a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion this week.  The suit argued that the state underfunded these schools, and gave preferential treatment to other schools, among other discriminatory practices; as a result, they are more segregated now than they were a few decades ago. To take one example, funding for capital enhancement projects takes two or three times longer than at other institutions. As a result, perhaps, historically black institutions have poor retention and graduation rates.

Maryland has a checkered past when it comes to higher education and race. In 1969, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights ruled that Maryland had an illegal segregated higher education system.

But we won’t get a chance to see a dramatic trial result in the case, at least not anytime soon; the two sides agreed to postpone the trial until December, in favor of trying to mediate the conflict.

What do you think is the role of historically black colleges in today’s educational landscape?