The Committee on Oversight and Reform in the US House of Representatives says that at least 36 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)have received bomb threats since January 2020. During Black History Month in February, more than a dozen of the schools were targeted. (There are 101 HBCUs in the US) To date, no bombs have been found on the campuses.
The threats are being investigated by the FBI as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.” Executive Director of the White House initiative on HBCUs said “the threat of bombings at these colleges/universities can have a deep and unsettling impact on students, faculty and staff that significantly disrupts the learning environment.” Classes were canceled and dorm rooms were placed on lockdown.
Because of the bomb threats, HBCUs can apply for federal grants created to improve campus security and to provide mental health resources. The Project School Emergency Response to Violence program grants range from $50,000 to $150,000 and are provided by the US Department of Education. The funds can be used to hire mental health professionals, provide training for security staff and to improve campus security. Vice President Kamala Harris said “every American should be able to learn, work, worship and gather without fear.”