Donation of $ 5M to create civil rights, other internships



NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A historically black university in New Orleans has said a $ 5 million giveaway will create civil rights and public service internships for students.

Dillard University receives the largest of seven donations announced Thursday by a law firm that represented Maryland’s four historically black colleges and universities in a 15-year legal battle for equal funding.

The $ 577 million settlement included $ 22 million in legal fees. The Kirkland & Ellis firm, which had donated its work, says it gives its share to the HBCUs, associations and community organizations that have helped it.

The donation to Dillard’s Center for Racial Justice will create an endowment for paid internships with various civil rights and public interest organizations, the university said in a press release.

Other donations include $ 3 million to the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education at Morgan State University; $ 2 million to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Act; and $ 1 million to the National Association for Equal Opportunities in Higher Education.

The remainder goes to the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University, the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Higher Education in Maryland, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church Second District HBCU Fellowship Fund.

Each beneficiary helped in the case, the law firm said.

Dillard spokesperson Eddie Francis said the Dillard students spent time with senior lawyer Michael Jones discussing fair funding for the HBCUs. “Their comments provided valuable insight into how the historic underfunding has hurt HBCU students,” Francis said in an email.

The donation to Howard University will create endowment and operating funds for the centre’s racial justice and advancement program initiatives. This will include money for civil rights and scholarships from public benefit organizations for HBCU students in Maryland and across the country.

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under the Act also represented students, faculty and alumni who said the four institutions were never equitably funded. It creates scholarships for current HBCU law school students and for undergraduates and alumni interested in civil rights litigation and policy, Kirkland & Ellis said.

The National Association for Equal Opportunities in Higher Education will use its donation to fund scholarships and paid internships, including at Capitol Hill.



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