‘Every penny helps:’ Federal grants being awarded to HBCUs targeted by bomb threats

More than a third of the country’s HBCUs were targets of bomb threats.
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Financial support is on the way for Historically Black Colleges and Universities that were targets of bomb threats.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is eyeing six suspects they believe are responsible for the recent bomb threats against HBCUs and Houses of Worship.

More than a third of the country’s HBCUs were targets of emails and phone calls threatening to set off bombs on campus.

These threats started at the beginning of January.

The Biden-Harris is awarding grants upward of 150,000 dollars to schools that were targeted.

Grants from the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program will be given to schools that were affected by bomb threats. Award amounts range from $50,000 to $150,000. This is from the Department of Education.

Project SERV provides short-term, immediate funding to schools that were targets of violence or other traumatic experiences. These grants will support mental health and safety resources.

“Every penny helps,” said Dr. Anthony Davis who is Livingstone College’s Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

Related: FBI eyeing 6 suspects after HBCU bomb threats

On Friday, Dr. Kidd at Livingstone College continued the conversation about the threats and the wider implications in his psychology class.

“Some of you may know people who are at some of the schools that were targeted,” Kidd said in his opening comments.

Livingstone College did not receive any threats, but student Tanniya Womack says her friend at Hampton University did.

“She was scared. She said that they had to go on lockdown, so wherever they were at the time they had to stay there,” Womack said.

Schools that weren’t targeted aren’t exempt from federal support, they will also get funding for long-term support for safety and emergency management.

“When a crisis affects one it’s just a matter of time before it affects us all,” Davis said. “They’ve also made dollars available through that same announcement that there will be other government agencies and resources will be made available to help us address this.”

Other supporting agencies include the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security.

Davis says this will support prevention efforts and beef up their security.

“That means upgrading our security systems, making sure we have adequate staffing, and to make sure we have appropriate education where the entire campus can buy into campus safety and we can be vigilant,” he said.

In addition, Davis said this will be a great support for mental health resources.

“It will help us identify additional staffing when necessary that we can deploy to help us address challenges. Not only when we have challenges like bomb threats, but the ongoing mental trauma that we have seen as a result of this pandemic,” he said.

Leaders from the Department of Education and other agencies have already met with presidents at 40 HBCUs to share information on grant programs, resources, and other training.

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