UPDATED: 7:06 a.m. EST, Oct. 25 — Two people were shot and killed on the campus of Grambling State University in Louisiana early Wednesday morning in the third instance of gun violence at historically Black colleges and universities in as many weeks. While the motive was unclear, partially because the suspected gunman wasn’t immediately apprehended, the school was set for its homecoming festivities this weekend.
Each of the preceding instances of actual or purported gun violence on HBCU campus in the past two weeks have taken place around or shortly after the schools’ respective homecoming weekends.
One person was shot in the stomach on the campus of Virginia State University last Friday. A different person was shot on the same campus less than a week before that during homecoming weekend.
At Howard University, reports of an active shooter on the Washington, D.C., campus turned out to be false, but not before the school ordered all students to seek shelter and emergency crews responded in force on October 17. The report at Howard came days before the school’s annual homecoming began.
A man was shot in the stomach at Virginia State University early Friday morning in the latest incident of reported violence on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). It was also the second time this week a shooting happened on the Petersburg campus, according to CBS News.
While it was unclear if the latest victim was a student, both shootings have nevertheless sparked real concerns about campus safety at HBCUs. The violence came one week after Virginia State’s homecoming festivities, but at least 13 other HBCUs were set to celebrate their own homecomings this weekend.
The Virginia State shootings followed what turned out to be a false report of a shooting on the Washington, D.C., campus of Howard University on Tuesday. While it turned out to be nothing more than an apparent hoax, the drama in the immediate aftermath was horrifying for students and faculty alike, who were scrambling to seek shelter while campus and city police officers responded in force.
The election of the president has seemingly emboldened racists in a number of ways, including through violence aimed at Black people.
A racist White male was arrested earlier this month for making a series of online death threats to Howard University students on campus.
Before that, a Bowie State University student was killed on the campus of the University of Maryland in May. State prosecutors announced this week the death of Richard Collins III would be treated as a hate crime because the killing was racially motivated.
Campus shootings are far from restricted to just Black colleges. Still, a string of shootings at six HBCUs in less than one month in 2015 sounded the alarm for some.
“Violence on Black college campuses are a peculiar thing to discuss publicly,” Josie Pickens wrote in EBONY a little more than two years ago. “The conversations either steer toward violence being a natural characteristic of Black life, especially in poor Black communities (like in the way we speak about Chicago, for instance), or how we (especially in the case of gun violence) believe campus violence to be a ‘White thing.’ Either way, and in both conversations, we are missing an opportunity to have a serious exchange about the ever-increasing statistics of violence on college campuses, what is causing this increase in violence, and how we can keep our students safe.”