Three HBCU alumni are suing the Georgia Board of Regents for allegedly failing to equally fund the state’s public historically Black universities. The lawsuit cites “unequal treatment” at Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State universities, according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

It alleges that the board took resources away from HBCUs and directed them toward predominately white institutions. It also notes that Georgia’s three HBCUs rely on state funding more than other institutions and that there are currently no alumni serving on the board.

“There should not be two systems of education in Georgia,” Carlos Moore, a Mississippi attorney with the Cochran Firm, said on Tuesday. “In 2023, we’re still fighting for something as simple as equity, justice, equality.”

The plaintiffs hope the lawsuit helps future students at the three HBCUs.

“It means a lot. It could help them, help them financially, help them go to a better, beautiful school than it is now, help them grow as a person, help them get a better experience in college,” Martrice Herrington, who graduated from Fort Valley State earlier this year, told the news outlet. “Sometimes you have to speak up for what you want.”

She added that the buildings were old and the elevators frequently broke during her time as a student.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack officially notified Georgia and 15 other states that they have underfunded HBCUs by over $12 billion in recent decades compared to non-HBCUs, reported the AJC.

Fort Valley State was cited at the time and said to be “much stronger and better positioned to serve its students, your state, and the nation if made whole with respect to this funding gap.” 

The lawsuit comes as six students at Florida A&M filed a civil rights lawsuit for alleged discriminatory funding in 2022. They filed a suit against the state, the former chancellor of Florida’s university system and the board of governors for the state university system. The students alleged that the HBCU “remains separate and unequal” to other schools in the state.