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HBCU alumni file lawsuit over underfunding of Georgia’s three public HBCUs

Three HBCU graduates filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday against the Georgia Board of Regents, claiming that the Board failed to fund historically Black public universities in the state equally.

According to Atlanta Journal Constitution, the lawsuit claims “unfair treatment” by Albany State University Fort Valley State University and Savannah State University.

According to Blavity the lawsuit alleges the Georgia Board of Regents diverted resources from HBCUs towards institutions that are dominated by whites. The lawsuit also claims that Georgia’s public HBCUs are more dependent on state funding than other institutions, and that no alumni currently serve on the board.

Carlos Moore, an attorney in the case, said that there should not be any two education systems in Georgia.

According to State Representative Sandra Scott Fort Valley State could have received “an additional $603 million in the last 30 year if funding was at the level of the University of Georgia.”

Matrice Herring, a recent Fort Valley State graduate, is among the plaintiffs. She hopes that the lawsuit will benefit students who plan to attend Georgia HBCUs.

It means a great deal. It could help, it could help financially, it could help go to a more beautiful, better school than what they have now, and help them grow in a personal way, or help them experience a better college experience,” stated Herrington. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in.

Her experience as a Fort Valley State student was negatively affected by the lack of funds. She said that the old buildings and need for more housing, along with the frequent elevator breakdowns during her time there, were all due to a lack of funding.

According to WXIA TV of NBC, the lawsuit cites legal precedents such as Brown vs. Board of Education.

“Separate, but equal” is not constitutional when it comes to education. John Moore, an attorney on the case, said that we are also suing in accordance with Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color and national origin.

Dr. James Beverley is the minority leader in the Georgia General Assembly and he has called on the state officials to correct the situation with the underfunding for the three Georgia HBCUs.

“To Gov. Kemp, the Chancellor of Board of Regents: “Have… you ever withheld resources from those most in need? Dr. Beverly asked, “Have you ever held back resources from those who need it most?”