State Roundup: Hopkins fights suit charging limits on financial aid; judge denies injunction in Montgomery schools over LGBTQ+ issue

State Roundup: Hopkins fights suit charging limits on financial aid; judge denies injunction in Montgomery schools over LGBTQ+ issue

Gilman Hall at Johns Hopkins University

HOPKINS FIGHTS SUIT ALLEGING ‘PRICE-FIXING CARTEL’ THAT LIMITS FINANCIAL AID: Johns Hopkins University was named in a class-action lawsuit accusing it and other top U.S. universities of acting as a “cartel” to limit the amount of financial aid available to students.  Hopkins was added as a defendant in February 2022.  The plaintiffs argue that despite public statements saying otherwise, all of the defendants conspired to “maintain admissions systems that favor the children of wealthy past or potential future donors” and work together to stymie financially needy students’ access to financial aid by “reducing or eliminating price competition.” Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun

JUDGE DENIES INJUNCTION IN MONTGOMERY SCHOOLS’ LGBTQ+ DISPUTE: A federal judge on Thursday denied a motion for an injunction that would have temporarily forced Montgomery County Public Schools to rescind its no-opt-out approach to reading elementary-level LGBTQ+ inclusive materials in class. The lawsuit three MCPS families filed in May stems from a controversy over the school district’s decision not to provide prior notice or allow parents to remove their students from the classroom when an LGBTQ+ inclusive storybook is used. A U.S. District judge ruled that exposure to the texts doesn’t violate parents’ First Amendment rights. Em Espey/MoCo360

CONSENT DECREE JUDGE URGES BALTO. POLICE TO PUSH HARDER TO IMPROVE: The federal judge overseeing the Baltimore Police Department’s consent decree urged the agency’s leadership to push harder for progress on several fronts, including producing long-awaited reports about officers’ pedestrian stops and the resulting searches.  Ben Conarck/The Baltimore Banner

  • U.S. Chief District Judge James Bredar said that what he heard was generally positive. But Bredar said he is very concerned that the department is still losing more officers than it’s gaining, and said the July 2 mass shooting in Brooklyn caught police off-guard. Bredar raised concerns about what he called an “explosion of violence.” The judge said he wants to review BDP’s after-action report into the mass shooting, Barry Simms/WBAL TV (NBC)

PIONEERING COURT ADMINISTRATIVE CLERK WILLIAM DORSEY DIES: William A. Dorsey, a lawyer who was the first African American administrative clerk of the Baltimore District Court, died Aug. 17 after a fall. The Baltimore resident was 85. Retired Judge David W. Young, who worked with Dorsey, said he “was the brains” of the district court. Frederick N. Rasmussen/ The Baltimore Sun

2 CANDIDATES URGE ROCKVILLE CITY COUNCIL TO HIRE CITY MANAGER AFTER ELECTION: Two candidates for Rockville City Council are calling for the mayor and council to hold off on hiring a new city manager until after the Nov. 7 municipal election that will select a new mayor and City Council for four-year terms. After a seven-year stint as city manager, Robert DiSpirito resigned Friday following a closed council session to discuss his performance. Ginny Bixby/MoCo360 

NEW WASHINGTON CO. ADMINISTRATOR’S SUIT PENDING IN W. VA.: The new Washington County administrator is locked in battles with officials in Jefferson County, West Virginia, where she served as financial director. The details are included in a lawsuit that Michelle Gordon filed last year against the Jefferson County Commission and others in which Gordon alleges she was defamed in her work there, among other allegations. The suit is pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court. Gordon is a former finance director in Hagerstown but resigned in 2013 after an incident involving alleged misuse of funds. She was hired as chief financial officer for Washington County last fall and has been serving as acting county administrator following the abrupt retirement of John Martirano in May. Dave McMillion and Tamela Baker/The [Hagerstown] Herald-Mail.

PFAS FEARS HALT EMMITSBURG’S PURCHASE OF WATER FROM MOUNT ST MARY’S U.: The town of Emmitsburg has stopped buying water from Mount St. Mary’s University, citing concerns over high levels of PFAS contamination in the university’s water. Multiple wells at Mount St. Mary’s showed high detections of PFAS — known as “forever chemicals” — above the latest proposed maximum contaminant levels from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a 2022 university report on drinking water quality. High exposure to PFAS can lead to various health issues including cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gabrielle Lewis/Frederick News-Post.

OFFICIAL ADMITS BALTIMORE RECEIVED NO INITIAL BIDS TO FIX PARK POOLS: The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks had to put the Patterson Park Pool project out for bid twice before getting a single taker, its director acknowledged at a City Council hearing on the agency’s failure to get some public pools open this summer. Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

TANEYTOWN EXTENDS DEADLINE TO GET MORE POLICE CHIEF APPLICATIONS: Taneytown has extended the deadline to submit an application for police chief by two weeks, in hopes of getting a larger pool of candidates, and eliminated a requirement that the chief must live in the city. Thus far, Taneytown has received three applications for the position since the Nov. 2, 2022 resignation of the last chief, Jason Etzler. The deadline for submitting an application was extended from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15. Sherry Greenfield/Carroll County Times.

OPINION: SHOULD WE TRUST OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS? Turning your children over to someone else requires trust. Yet, as most Maryland students return to classes next week, it’s no longer a given that parents have that trust. Trust has emerged as a major issue in schools amid lingering resentment over COVID closures, failure to reach students of color, violence in schools and a political environment that puts education at the center of warring social agendas. Rick Hutzell/The Baltimore Banner

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Contributing editor Regina Holmes has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. Before joining Maryland Reporter, she was the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. The Baltimore native is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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