Historically Black colleges and universities around the United States have been operating under a continuous cycle of hate. Since January of 2022, 36 HBCUs have been targets of bomb threats. On the first day of Black History Month alone, 18 HBCUs had to suspend operations and go on lockdown. Thankfully, there were no devices found, but this is a coordinated attack on the psyche of Black students.
The Biden administration has identified some steps to address this ongoing problem. In a press conference yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that historically black colleges and universities would be eligible for grant funding, as reported by ABC News.
The Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) initiative under the Department of Education aims to enhance campus security and offer mental health resources by providing short-term, immediate funding for institutions that have experienced a “violent or traumatic incident.” HBCUs targeted by the threats could receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 per campus and will be determined based on specific needs.
“Threats to the education and well-being of Black Americans and HBCUs are an unfortunate part of American history,” the press release read. “The bomb threats that we witnessed in January, each week in February – Black History Month, and this month are reminiscent of the attempts during the Civil Rights Era to intimidate and provoke fear in Black Americans.”
The House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing today to see what the federal government can do to help. Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Sen. Carolyn B. Maloney described one call Spelman College received in her opening statement.
“In one threatening call targeting Spelman College, an HBCU for women in Atlanta, a caller claimed they had singled out that school for one reason: ‘there are too many Black students in it.”
The Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have met with HBCU leaders to enhance campus security.