In coordination with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Vice President Kamala Harris just announced a brand-new initiative to help support the plethora of HBCUs that have recently received bomb threats.
At various points throughout 2022, HBCUs all over the country—including Howard, Spelman, Morgan State, Hampton and Jackson State—have been targeted by anonymous threats, prompting numerous lockdowns and evacuations. It’s also worth noting that Morehouse College just received a threat earlier this week.
Today I am announcing new steps our Administration is taking to ensure our communities—including our HBCU students—are protected and supported. Tune in. https://t.co/OL20nwEXcs— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) March 16, 2022
Through the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program, such HBCUs can apply for grant funds to “assist in restoring a safe environment conducive to learning.”
“In the last three months, more than one-third of our country’s Historically Black colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have received bomb threats. While, thankfully, no explosive devices were found on any of these campuses, significant and lasting damage has been done by threatening the safety and security of the students, faculty and staff at these institutions,” a White House news release begins. “As a result of these threats, learning has been disrupted, critical resources have been diverted to emergency response and there has been an increased burden on already overwhelmed campus mental health systems.”
Breaking: @VP & ED announce that HBCUs that recently experienced bomb threats resulting in disruptions to campus learning environments can apply for grants funds under the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program. https://t.co/HkLch6HBu9 [🧵 1/6] pic.twitter.com/Zc25EZaXBT
— U.S. Department of Education (@usedgov) March 16, 2022
The Project SERV funding ranges from $50,000 to $150,000 per institution is earmarked explicitly for “targeted mental health resources or enhanced security.” It’s also worth noting that the ED will work to “determine of Project SERV can help with immediate needs” on a campus-by-campus basis, suggesting that not every impacted HBCU is automatically guaranteed to fund. However, all affected HBCUs can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The recent bomb threats experienced by HBCUs have shaken students and fractured their sense of safety and belonging, which are critical to their academic success and well-being,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “We, at the Department of Education, recognize how these threats evoke a painful history of violence against Black Americans in this country that is especially traumatizing to HBCU students, faculty and staff.”
This announcement comes on the ED unveiling a state-by-state American Rescue Plan to help distribute $2.7B in funding to the nation’s HBCUs, as Blavity previously reported.