HBCUs Targeted by Bomb Threats Now Eligible for Federal Security Grants

At least 57 HBCUs and Black churches have received bomb threats since January. Over a dozen schools reported bomb threats on the first day of Black History Month.

March 17, 2022 · Updated on March 17, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
HBCUs Targeted by Bomb Threats Now Eligible for Federal Security Grants
HBCUs Higher Ed Policy
Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images

  • More than a dozen schools reported bomb threats on Feb. 1.
  • Institutions forced to clear campuses may now be eligible for up to $150,000 in grants.
  • Congress recently passed a resolution condemning these threats.

The federal government is providing financial relief for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that recently received bomb threats.

The Department of Education and Vice President Kamala Harris announced Wednesday that HBCUs forced to clear campuses due to bomb threats now qualify for federal grants through the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program.

According to a statement from the department, Project SERV awards can range from $50,000-$150,000 per school. It suggests schools use these grants to support mental health services for students and strengthen campus security.

"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," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.

Campuses across the country reported a deluge of bomb threats on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month. At least 57 HBCUs and Black churches received bomb threats between Jan. 4 and Feb. 16, according to the FBI.

The FBI said it is investigating these cases as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes. To date, no explosive devices related to these threats have been found.

The FBI said it is investigating these cases as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes. To date, no explosive devices related to these threats have been found.

In addition to the Project SERV grant announcement, the department also provided HBCUs a compendium of resources available from the federal government in case of future threats.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution on March 8 condemning threats of violence against HBCUs. U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a Democrat from North Carolina and staunch HBCU supporter, proposed the resolution in light of the bomb threats.

Access to Project SERV funds, however, is the most concrete action taken thus far to address the issue.

In the past, these grants have been awarded to address needs related to events like:

  • School shootings
  • Suicide clusters
  • Terrorism
  • Major natural disasters
  • School bus accidents
  • Student homicides (off campus)
  • Hate crimes committed against students, faculty members and/or staff

According to a brief on the application process for the grant, the process is not intended to be burdensome for schools.