Court orders mediation in Maryland desegregation case

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ordered Maryland’s higher education commission and a coalition of historically black colleges to try to settle their 12-year-old dispute over the effects of desegregation.

The black colleges say the state has underfunded them while developing programs at traditionally white schools that directly compete with them and drain prospective students away.

In 2013, a judge found that the state had maintained an unconstitutional “dual and segregated education system,” but the two sides have unable to agree on a solution.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered mediation to avoid years of acrimonious litigation “that will only work to the detriment of higher education in Maryland.”

The panel set an April 30 deadline to reach a mediated settlement.

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