‘Every penny counts:’ federal grants given to HBCUs targeted by bomb threats

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SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) — Financial support is on the way for historically black colleges and universities that have been the target of bomb threats.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is monitoring six suspects they believe are responsible for recent bomb threats against HBCUs and houses of worship.

More than a third of HBCUs nationwide have been the target of emails and phone calls threatening to detonate bombs on campus.

These threats began in early January.

The Biden-Harris is awarding grants of up to $150,000 to targeted schools.

Grants from the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) program will be awarded to schools that have been affected by bomb threats. Scholarship amounts range from $50,000 to $150,000. This comes from the Ministry of Education.

The SERV project provides immediate, short-term funding to schools that have been the target of violence or other traumatic experiences. These grants will support mental health and safety resources.

“Every penny counts,” said Dr. Anthony Davis, senior vice president for institutional advancement at Livingstone College.

Related: FBI tracking 6 suspects after HBCU bomb threats

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

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

Livingstone College received no threats, but student Tanniya Womack says her friend from Hampton University did.

“She was scared. She said they had to be locked up, so wherever they were at the time, they had to stay there,” Womack said.

Schools that were not targeted are not exempt from federal support, they will also receive funding for long-term security and emergency management support.

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

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

Davis says this will support prevention efforts and make them safer.

“That means upgrading our security systems, making sure we have the right staff, and making sure we have proper education where the whole campus can buy campus security and we can be vigilant,” said he declared.

Additionally, Davis said it would be great support for mental health resources.

“This will help us identify if necessary additional staff that we can deploy to help us meet the challenges. Not just when we have challenges like bomb threats, but the ongoing mental trauma we’ve seen as a result of this pandemic,” he said.

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

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