HBCU students wary of more protests

Howard University campus. Photo courtesy Campus Safety Magazine

Terrorism has always been a major concern for the United States. However, in recent months domestic terrorism has become an equally high concern due to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

In an attempt to overturn the results, Trump supporters led a vicious attack on the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6. Incited by President  Trump himself, the attack prompted the FBI to issue a warning in all 50 states of possible attacks on inauguration day.

Now that President Joe Biden has been sworn into office, some HBCU students are wary for their safety for the upcoming events in D.C. and across the country.

Some campuses have already begun the process of precautionary measures such as checkpoints, ID checks and even halting the start of classes due to safety concerns of government buildings in their cities. HBCU students like Jazmine Janelle, a senior at Alabama State University, believe the school is taking good precautions but is still fearful of an attack due to the school’s location in the state’s capital, Montgomery.

“I feel like in general, a lot of HBCUs are under attack because they may be seen as democratic, and Republican protesters could see the school as an easy target for vulnerable people. And for the heck of it they may just feel like attacking these sacred places as a means to hurt Black people as a whole,”  Janelle said.

Other students in the D.C. area who have seen the events at the Capitol take place firsthand, are worried for their campus and the natives of that area. Howard University canceled classes both in-person and online for Wednesday’s inauguration. Although class cancellations will protect faculty and students, Jade Walter, a senior at Howard, is disappointed in the outcome. In past years, Howard has been deeply involved in the political culture during this process.

“It’s definitely a little disheartening that a lot of us can’t physically be a part of this historic occasion because of the political environment on top of the pandemic. I feel like if things were different, people would have made a huge celebration for Kamala on the yard,” Walters said.

Although many schools have implemented in-person and online instruction, Bethune Cookman has remained online until February. Most students there seem content with the precautions already set in place. Senior Shanel Moorer said she feels safer behind the screen, and with possibility of violence on campus, she hopes the school will keep it that way.

“I’m so glad that I’m not on campus right now. Now I don’t have to worry about getting COVID on top of keeping up with potentially violent local events. I feel much safer at home knowing someone can’t just pull on campus whenever. Especially since a lot of students live in a dorm, it’s like being a sitting.