Following the recent spate of violent threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), The Century Foundation Senior Fellow Denise A. Smith released the following statement:
“HBCUs are sadly no stranger to being the target of intimidation and violence. Unfortunately, recent bomb threats at more than two dozen HBCUs echo a pattern of racist behavior toward Black students and the education institutions that serve them that has prevailed for centuries — manifest in everything from vast inequities in funding to actual acts of violence.
“Today, as has always been the case, Black students and HBCUs are left with no other choice than to remain resilient, return to class, push on doing more with less. The fact that HBCUs have thrived as epicenters of excellence and engines of upward mobility for generations, in spite of constant attacks and mistreatment, is testament to the ongoing importance of these institutions.
“It’s past time we stop asking HBCUs to do more with less, and instead provide these schools with the protections, resources, and respect that they so deserve. That means creating classrooms and campuses that are safe from violence, beginning with law enforcement agencies and Congress aggressively investigating and holding accountable the perpetrators of violent threats and actions, as the higher education community has urged. “It also means fixing decades of chronic underfunding, which has deprived HBCUs of financial stability and independence, and put their very survival at risk. Our research shows that endowments per full-time student at public HBCUs are more than three times smaller than at other public institutions; comparing private schools, that endowment gap jumps to seven times as small. Congress and the Biden administration should make an historic investment in HBCUs that recognizes the value of these illustrious institutions and gives them the support needed to flourish for generations to come.”
For more information on the history and funding of HBCUs, including policy recommendations, see Smith’s past work: