Coalition accuses Pa. of failing historically black Cheyney University

    Affiliates of Cheyney University are accusing Pennsylvania of failing its obligation to support the first of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities.

    At a news conference Monday outside the U.S. Court in Philadelphia, students, alumni and politicians argued that Cheyney is worse-off financially than the other state-affiliated schools.

    Cheyney, located just outside Philadelphia, was founded by Quakers in the 19th century for African American students.

    Malik Justice Williams, president of the university’s student government, says the now state-affiliated school has not received the level of support given to other schools in the state system.

    “Money talks and the message we’re hearing is the state does not care,” Williams said.

    The filing alleges that the state funding formula disadvantages Cheyney and that the state has violated decades-old agreements to remedy civil rights issues of discrimination.

    The head of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Peter Garland, said that Cheyney received the highest level of funding per student at any of the universities in the state system, and three times the state average.

    He said the association and the commonwealth are “committed to the success of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and its students.”

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