Maryland HBCU lawsuit: Trial starts in Md. black schools suit

BALTIMORE (AP) - A federal lawsuit alleging that state policies that can be traced to segregation hurt Maryland's historically black state colleges and universities is going to trial.

Opening statements begin Tuesday morning in the bench trial expected to last six weeks.

The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education alleges that practices carried over from the days of segregation at the state's higher education commission put historically black schools at a competitive disadvantage.

The coalition says there is unnecessary duplication of specialized programs offered at historically black schools, as well as funding disparities.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled last year that the coalition failed to show inequity in the state's capital funding formula and discrimination against a particular school.