Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee, has delivered a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland calling for the full investigation of recent threats made against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“In less than a month, more than one dozen Historically Black Colleges and Universities have received alarming threats to the safety of their students, staffs, and campus communities and while social media posts condemning the perpetrators are necessary, they are not enough. The United States Justice Department must use the full force of the federal government to swiftly investigate threats made and bring those who made them to justice,” said Congresswoman Wilson.
Last week, more than a dozen HBCUs reported bomb threats against their campuses. For two consecutive days, bomb threats were called into schools across the country, forcing campus closures and shelter-in-place orders.
Ultimately no bombs or explosives were found at any of the schools, and NBC News is reporting that the FBI has identified six “tech-savvy” juveniles as suspects.
The letter reads in part:
“As members of Congress who oversee higher education issues, including campus safety and climate, we are particularly concerned for the physical and mental wellbeing of HBCU students and their broader campus communities. While, at this time, no physical violence has been reported, the threats themselves have terrorized the predominantly Black students, faculty, and staff at these historic institutions. HBCUs have a long history of being the targets of racially motivated violence and intimidation, which too often have not garnered the appropriate level of attention.”
“It is disturbing that these coordinated threats have occurred leading up to the start of Black History Month. HBCUs have produced many of the prominent Black leaders and innovators that are celebrated every February and have long been a safe haven for students who historically were either not welcomed at other institutions or faced great barriers to admittance. To honor this legacy, it is essential that HBCU students feel safe on their campuses and the perpetrators of these hate crimes be swiftly apprehended.”
Co-signers of the letter include Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Congressman Joe Courtney, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Raul M. Grijalva, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Congressman Mondaire Jones, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and Congressman Mark Pocan.