Being young, Black and at college in America: Safety at HBCUs

Following the armed suspect arrest at North Carolina A&T, are HBCUs no longer safe? Photo courtesy

In the era of mass shootings and bills being passed allowing guns to be carried without permits, one starts to wonder if we are actually safe on college campuses, more importantly, Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

With Florida House Bill 543 being passed on Monday, this now means that a person who carries a concealed weapon does not need a permit to carry and must show identification to law enforcement if asked.

Now, while schools are one of the prohibited locations where concealed weapons are not allowed, that does not mean that off-campus events are safe. From previous experience, non-college students are known to attend off-campus events, such as block parties and house parties, and sometimes situations can escalate once alcohol is involved.

Also, just because they are not allowed to be carried on campus does not mean individuals will follow the prohibition. Since most HBCUs, and colleges in general, are open campuses, anyone from the surrounding area can walk or drive onto campus without being a student at all. So, without the proper restrictions and precautions, those individuals could just walk onto a college campus with a concealed weapon, regardless of the laws passed.

As someone who used to stay on campus and now resides near campus in off-campus housing, safety is such a big concern for me. Especially since what happened at North Carolina A&T State University.

A couple of weeks ago, an armed suspect was arrested on NCAT’s campus on March 27th, and students weren’t notified until this week about the situation. The fact that the university did not send out alerts to the students right away concerns me, as students should have been informed about the situation as soon as it occurred, regardless of the suspect being arrested immediately. I mean, imagine what would have happened if they didn’t find the suspect right away?

Another instance of the lack of safety in schools is the shooting that just occurred in Nashville, Tennessee, recently as well. Seeing something so tragic happen to elementary school children and teachers made me realize that these situations can happen anywhere to anyone and can happen when you least expect it.

The safety of HBCUs and the lives of the students, faculty, and staff that live, learn, teach, and frequent them should be taken as seriously as any other school across the nation in these times of uncertainty.