U.S. Department of Education Awards Project SERV Grants Three Additional HBCUs That Received Bomb Threats

The U.S. Department of Education announced Friday that  Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) would be given to grants to three additional Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that experienced bomb threats last year.

North Carolina Central University will receive $213,500; Philander Smith College will receive $149,963; and Hampton University will receive $214,317 in Project SERV grants.

“The bomb threats made last year against several Historically Black Colleges and Universities not only shattered their campus communities’ sense of safety and created fear in students but strained institutions’ resources by prompting costly campus lockdowns, class cancellations, and law enforcement activities,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Education. “As Secretary of Education, I categorically reject any and all efforts to terrorize Black students and educators and I am committed to ensuring access to Project SERV grants and all available federal resources to help HBCUs restore safe, welcoming, and nurturing learning environments. I’m pleased that these three grants will advance efforts by HBCU leaders to strengthen mental health supports, help students overcome these traumatic experiences, and invest in their campus security.”

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is utilizing its Project SERV funds to tackle student safety concerns, according to a press release. The school plans to bring on a full-time care manager and host Director’s LEAD (Learning, Empowering and Advocating for Diversity) Workshops to train faculty on recognizing the effects of PTSD and racial trauma. These workshops will take place over six sessions, and aim to better equip individuals to support students and improve the overall safety climate at the university. NCCU will also fund a part-time case manager to be a first responder to reported crises on campus and provide follow-up care to students who have been directly impacted, as well as support for their Campus Police Services. Additionally, NCCU will use the Project SERV funds to pay overtime for five officers and six Residential Life staff who assisted with campus evacuation and student response after hours.

Philander Smith College is set to use its Project SERV funds to hire three new security officers, including support for overtime hours, and support for a police department contracted security detail for a one-year period.

Hampton University is investing in mental health resources for its students and staff with the help of its Project SERV grant, according to the institution’s announcement. The school plans to hire two full-time positions: a Trauma/Resilience Mental Health Specialist and a Psychology Technician. Additionally, the University will use the grant money to support Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), which aims to address common trauma reactions such as depression and suicide risk.

According to the press release, other HBCUs that also have been awarded Project SERV grants are Tougaloo College, Fayetteville State University, Southern University Law Center, Fisk University, and Coppin State University.  

“We’re pleased that these institutions are receiving the aid they deserve to ensure the well-being and safety of their students, staff, and faculty,” said Dietra Trent, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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 Department expects additional grants to be awarded in the coming weeks and continues to work with additional HBCUs impacted to support them in the grant application process and in expediting applications once received. 

Additional grants are expected to be awarded in the coming weeks, and the U.S. Department of Education is continuing to work with HBCUs that have been impacted to support them throughout the grant application process and facilitate the processing of applications once received.

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