HBCUs targeted by bomb threats to receive federal funding

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Vice President Kamala Harris announced from Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon that federal funding would go toward fighting threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Three HBCUs have been the target of such attacks within the past couple of months. These threats have prompted the evacuation of campuses and left students and staff wondering where the attacks originated and where to go for safety.

"It was like OMG (sic) we gotta (sic) get outta (sic) here because we don't know what's going on," said North Carolina Central University student Seylon Edmundson. "That uncertainty was a lot to kind of deal with."

North Carolina Central was one of seven HBCUs that received a bomb threat on Jan. 4.

Student Amaya Thomas added: "When you hear of a bomb threat on campus, that's scary."

The Biden-Harris Administration announced that targeted schools would receive between $50,000 and $150,000 for enhanced security and to boost schools' mental health resources for students.

"I hope we put it toward something good; useful for the students," Thomas said.

The vice president said the funding signals that the series of threats will not go unanswered.

"Today, our administration is sending a very clear message this intimidation will not stand, and we will not be intimidated," Harris said. "We will do everything in our power to protect all our communities from violence and from hate. We are all in this together."

North Carolina Central criminology professor Hunter Boehme spoke to ABC11 via Zoom from Las Vegas, where he was attending a law enforcement conference.

"(The) Jan. 6 riots and Charlottesville 2017; those were threats and then they became into fruition," Boehme said. "So I think it's being taken more seriously by this administration and providing these funds is sending that signal."

Law enforcement officials have not specified where the attacks are coming from but said the investigation with 30 or so FBI field offices is looking into the matter.

Boehme said he believes racism is at the root of the threats.

RELATED: St. Augustine's, other HBCUs resilient after nationwide bomb threats

"My take is white supremacy," he said. "I think HBCUs are a representation of people of color's progression and excellence. And I think that's a threat to white supremacy."

The money will come from the Project School Emergency Response to Violence program, also known as Project SERV.

"It's great that they're showing love to HBCUs, especially during this time," said NCCU student Jordan Jackson. "HBCUs can be overlooked at times so it's just really great the country is showing love to HBCUs."
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