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pg-cover9 02-03-06 Mark Gail_TWP #177091 The entrance to Bowie State University at Route 197 and Jer

The entrance to Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland. | Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Historically Black colleges and universities’ (HBCUs) ongoing showing of solidarity with one of its own after an on-campus mass shooting is continuing in an unprecedented fashion as the annual homecoming season gets underway this weekend.

After Morgan State University canceled its homecoming festivities following Tuesday night’s gun violence outside of a dormitory building in Baltimore, a fellow Maryland HBCU is stepping up to further demonstrate that Black colleges are one big family rallying around each other during hard times.

That truth revealed itself on Friday evening when Morgan State’s students were extended a benevolent invitation to travel about 45 minutes south to Prince George’s County to attend Bowie State University’s homecoming football game against Virginia State University on Saturday afternoon.

“We stand in solidarity and welcome @MorganStBears to enjoy the celebrations of Homecoming at Bowie State. Together, we are HBCU Strong,” Bowie State posted on the social media app formerly known as Twitter. “We’re offering a free game ticket to @MorganStBears students!”

The social media post included a link where Morgan State students interested in attending the game could click to secure their tickets. As of Saturday morning, a message on the website where tickets can be obtained said that the game was sold out, suggesting there was a large response from Morgan State students.

Prior to inviting Morgan State students, Bowie State announced it had taken steps to bolster its campus security for its own homecoming festivities.

“There’s going to be an event probably every day where we have to adjust and change,” Mark Cummings, Bowie State’s police chief and director of public safety, told NBC Washington.

Bowie State’s generous gesture to Morgan State was among the overtures being made by HBCUs in the wake of this week’s mass shooting that injured at least five people — including four students — described as “unintended” targets. Law enforcement has said there were two gunmen, but they remained unidentified and at large more than three days later.

The Baltimore Police Department appealed to the public for help and announced a $9,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and protection of anyone responsible for the shooting, which came at the start of a week of Morgan State’s annual homecoming festivities.

On Wednesday, Morgan State announced it would cancel or postpone homecoming activities for the first time in the school’s history following the third consecutive on-campus shooting during homecoming week.

Shooting At Morgan State University Leaves 5 Injured

Police tape is shown outside of Thurgood Marshall Hall at Morgan State University on October 4, 2023, in Baltimore, Maryland. | Source: Anna Moneymaker / Getty

“Regarding Homecoming, regrettably for the very first time in Morgan’s history all activities planned around Homecoming will be either cancelled or postponed until the perpetrator(s) of this atrocity have been found and brought to justice,” Morgan State University President Dr. David Wilson wrote in a message to the campus community in reference to planned activities like a concert, parties, a pep rally, a parade and a football game scheduled for Saturday.

Aide from Bowie State, the shooting at Morgan State sparked an outpouring of compassion from other HBCUs that expressed both sympathy and unity for what their fellow Black college was dealing with.

Earlier in the week, Bowie State University President Dr. Aminta H. Breaux put things in perspective.

“Not just another day, nor should it be,” Breax wrote in a statement on social media. “The @BowieState campus community has @MorganStateU in our thoughts with hope for peace & healing for those injured in the mass shooting and the entire campus community, and for solutions to be found to stop the violence in our society.”

The shooting at Morgan State took place at a time when HBCU leaders and advocates have been demanding more funding from the federal government to further secure historically Black college campuses.

Lodriguez V. Murray, UNCF’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, said in August that Congress hasn’t matched the urgency shown by the situation at hand.

“All year long, we have asked Congress to protect HBCUs, and now is the time to pass the Homeland Security appropriations bill with language that directs the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to provide $100 million for HBCUs (annually) via the non-profit grants’ security program,” Murray said in a statement. “This program must administer the funds directly to HBCUs, not by the state governments. This will help HBCUs to be protected against threats by increasing security, developing plans on how to respond beyond simply calling the police, heighten the use of technology to monitor campus entry points, and make our environments the safe haven for learning they should be for the sake—and mental health and security—of our students.”


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