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U.S. House condemns bomb threats made against historically Black colleges and universities; Little Rock’s French Hill backs resolution

by Ryan Tarinelli | March 9, 2022 at 9:31 a.m.
FILE — The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff campus is shown in this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

The U.S. House unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday condemning bomb threats made this year against historically Black colleges and universities in Arkansas and across the nation.

The bomb threats have targeted multiple HBCUs in Arkansas, including the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Philander Smith College in Little Rock and Shorter College in North Little Rock, according to the resolution.

Those are part of a larger spate of bomb threats against HBCUs, something the FBI says it is investigating as violent extremism and hate crimes.

Passage of the bipartisan resolution came the same day a Justice Department official told a Senate panel that hate crimes are on the rise. 

“Sadly, too many of the events that we see unfolding in our communities across the country today remind us that while we have made progress, racially motivated hate remains a stark problem in our nation,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice, at a committee hearing Tuesday. 

Days into the new year, at least eight HBCUs received bomb threats, including Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Spelman College in Georgia, according to the resolution.

HBCUs were the subject of another round of bomb threats on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month, according to the resolution.

Rep. French Hill, a Little Rock Republican, is an original co-sponsor of the resolution and took to the House floor Tuesday to urge support for the measure. 

“Imagine being a student and learning your school has had a bomb threat. Imagine being a parent and learning that your child’s school has had a bomb threat. It would be terrifying,” he said on the floor.


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