From Fisk University becoming the first historically Black college to start a gymnastics team, to Tennessee State University’s marching band winning a Grammy, what once was the primary way for Black Americans to get a college education now plays a crucial role in higher education.

Claflin University is one of several historically Black universities that will receive grants following bomb threats last year.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that four institutions will receive Project School Emergency Response to Violence grants.

Claflin was awarded $440,000. It will use its Project SERV funds to:

Hire a licensed clinical social worker and support trainings focused on stress reduction

Provide workshops focused on identifying signs of distress in students and coworkers

Address stress, anxiety and safety on campus

Claflin received a bomb threat in February 2022. It proved to be unfounded.

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Project SERV provides short-term funding for local educational agencies and institutions of higher education that have experienced a violent or traumatic incident to assist in restoring a safe environment conducive to learning.

“The bomb threats last year that targeted several historically Black colleges and universities traumatized their campus communities, disrupted learning and drained resources by prompting costly campus lockdowns, class cancellations and law enforcement activities,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said.

“The Biden-Harris administration will always stand by HBCUs and unequivocally condemn racist efforts to terrorize Black students and educators and deprive them of their right to safe, welcoming and nurturing environments for teaching and learning,” he said.

Other institutions receiving funds are:

Texas Southern University in Houston: $191,962

Delaware State University in Dover: $217,000

Howard University in Washington, D.C.: $203,000

Additional HBCUs that have been previously awarded Project SERV grants are Tougaloo College, Fayetteville State University, Southern University Law Center, Fisk University, Coppin State University, North Carolina Central University, Philander Smith College and Hampton University.  

“HBCU students consider their campuses as a sacred refuge and home away from home, and it is imperative that we provide them with these resources ensuring that they not only feel safe but are safe,” said Dietra Trent, executive director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“It is also incumbent upon us to ensure that the faculty and staff who are dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders are also able to do so with peace of mind. Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has been committed to strengthening the HBCU community and the investments that these institutions will make using the Project SERV funds is another example of the strength of that commitment,” Trent said.

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