Vice President Harris boosts HBCU funding following bomb threats

At least 36 HBCUs have face bomb threats in recent months.

March 16, 2022, 11:30 AM

Vice President Kamala Harris is set to announce that historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will be eligible for new grant funding following a series of bomb threats made against them.

The Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program under the Department of Education is intended to enhance campus security and provide mental health resources by providing short-term, immediate funding for institutions that have experienced a “violent or traumatic incident.”

PHOTO: Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a discussion with students as she tours Hampton University during a visit highlighting Historically black colleges and universities and STEM programs on Sept. 10, 2021, in Hampton, Va.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a discussion with students as she tours Hampton University during a visit highlighting Historically black colleges and universities and STEM programs on Sept. 10, 2021, in Hampton, Va.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Harris “will make clear that every American should be able to learn, work, worship, and gather without fear," a White House official told ABC News. The announcement will be made at the White House on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

HBCUs targeted by the threats could receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 per campus and will be determined based on specific needs. No bombs were found.

PHOTO: Vice President Kamala Harris leaves after talking to a business class as she tours Hampton University during a visit highlighting Historically black colleges and universities and STEM programs on Sept. 10, 2021, in Hampton, Va.
Vice President Kamala Harris leaves after talking to a business class as she tours Hampton University during a visit highlighting Historically black colleges and universities and STEM programs on Sept. 10, 2021, in Hampton, Va.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

The campuses of at least 36 HBCUs and other colleges have been targeted by threats and at least 18 of these colleges and universities were targeted on Feb. 1 alone -- the first day of Black History Month.

Institutions went into lockdown or evacuated the campus while local law enforcement agencies investigated the threats.

"Threats to the education and well-being of Black Americans and HBCUs are an unfortunate part of American history," the press release read. "The bomb threats that we witnessed in January, each week in February – Black History Month, and this month are reminiscent of the attempts during the Civil Rights Era to intimidate and provoke fear in Black Americans."

PHOTO: Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on voting rights at the Louis Stokes Library of Howard University in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on voting rights at the Louis Stokes Library of Howard University in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

These threats came as hate crimes against Black Americans are on the rise, increasing by nearly 50% between 2019 and 2020, according to the FBI.

Several federal agencies are taking on this issue. The Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have met with HBCU leaders on tools they can use to strengthen campus security.

A Congressional hearing is also being held on Thursday to hear what the federal government can do to support HBCUs.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events