North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., is one of three historically Black colleges and universities that will receive Project SERV grants from the Department of Education after it was targeted with a bomb threat last year. Photo courtesy of NCCU
Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Three historically Black colleges and universities will receive Project School Emergency Response to Violence grants after they were the targets of bomb threats last year.
The Department of Education announced Friday it will provide Project SERV grants to North Carolina Central University, Philander Smith College and Hampton University to pay for additional security and workshops for students to address racial trauma.
The three colleges were among those targeted during an uptick in bomb threats last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which included forty-nine threats against Black colleges and universities.
"The bomb threats made last year against several historically Black colleges and universities not only shattered their campus communities' sense of safety and created fear in students, but strained institutions' resources by prompting costly campus lockdowns, class cancellations and law enforcement activities," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
The Project SERV grants will include $213,500 to North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.; $149,963 to Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark.; and $214,317 to Hampton University in Hampton, Va.
Last January, students at North Carolina Central University had to be evacuated during the night following a bomb threat. On the first day of Black History Month, Philander Smith College announced it had received a bomb threat called into Little Rock 911 Communications. And Hampton University was forced into lockdown in February after it received a bomb threat.
At least six other historically Black colleges and universities -- Albany State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Howard University and Southern University and A&M -- received bomb threats last January that also prompted heavy police responses, lockdowns and cancelled classes.
"As Secretary of Education, I categorically reject any and all efforts to terrorize Black students and educators and I am committed to ensuring access to Project SERV grants and all available federal resources to help HBCUs restore safe, welcoming and nurturing learning environments," Cardona said.
Project SERV provides short-term funding to help restore schools and colleges following a violent or traumatic experience. The Education Department said it expects additional grants to be awarded in the coming weeks.
North Carolina Central University, Philander Smith College and Hampton University plan to use the funds to pay overtime for the officers and staff who supported students during lockdowns and evacuations, as well as to hire additional security and provide trauma workshops to those students affected by the threats.
"I'm pleased that these three grants will advance efforts by HBCU leaders," Cardona added, "to strengthen mental health supports, help students overcome these traumatic experiences and invest in their campus security."