Mike Davis, president pro tempore of the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works and chair of the HBCU Recruitment Retention and Advancement Committee for the City of Los Angeles, commented recently on the series of bomb threats made this month against several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Davis revealed: “HBCUs are America’s best investment of higher education for citizens who have journeyed from slavery to freedom in the world’s greatest country. Still today many historically White (public) institutions (HWIs) of higher learning have not admitted a significant amount of African-American students for education and training. HBCU graduate school programs in business, law, medicine and engineering have increasingly developed into programs providing training for people of multicultural backgrounds. However, when we look for professionals in government from STEM and other areas, if they do not exist at (HWIs), HBCUs are the place where outstanding training has taken place.”
“When Congress passed the first Morrill Act of 1862, before the 14th Amendment, southern states refused to allow African-Americans to participate in higher education because of segregation. As a result, Congress passed the Morrill Act of 1866 to emphasize that African-Americans are to be provided higher education like everyone else. A series of land grant colleges developed for the purpose of providing this education. When we look at the adverse impact of Proposition 209 and other admission practices today at some of our public HWIs, it is important for the federal government to continue support on its most important investment in higher education since the Civil War,” Davis disclosed.
“My thoughts are with the students, staff and faculty at HBCUs being targeted across the country during this time. Places where Black students can learn, grow and thrive must be protected as safe spaces for our future.”
The threats began on the first day of Black History Month. The FBI has launched a hate crime and violent extremism investigation, as well as a probe into threats made against houses of worship. The investigation is being led by the FBi Joint Terrorism Task Force and involves more than 20 FBi field offices across the country. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has also opened an investigation.
Reportedly, the FBI has identified six juveniles as “persons of interest” in the series of threats. A law enforcement official said the six juveniles were considered “tech savvy.”
Among the campuses targeted were Bowie State University, Southern University, Bethune-Cookman University, Albany State University, Howard University, Delaware State University and Xavier University.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration wants students and the leaders of the colleges to know that “we are standing with them as they face these threats.” Psaki added, “It is scary, it is horrifying, it is terrible that these students, these faculty, these institutions are feeling under threat.”