The gun control debate over school safety was expected to reach a fever pitch this week, especially with Friday’s double murder in a dormitory shooting at Central Michigan University. But there is one aspect that will likely be overlooked: the safety of HBCU campuses. Of the at least 12 school shootings so far this year, there have been three at historically Black colleges, according to statistics compiled by CNN.
The campuses of Norfolk Stare University, Mississippi Valley State University and Savannah State University have all experienced shootings, though none of them deadly. In addition, one HBCU student was killed from gun violence on a neighboring college campus.
The HBCU campus shootings follow multiple similar episodes last year, including a double homicide at Grambling State University in October. Virginia State University also a homecoming shooting that left one man shot in the stomach, also in October. A reported active shooter on Howard University’s campus in October turned out to be a hoax.
CNN defined a school shooting as one “that involved at least one person being shot (not including the shooter)” that took place “on school grounds,” including “grades K through college/university level,” where “gang violence, fights and domestic violence” resulted in an intentional shooting or “accidental discharge of a firearm as long as the first two parameters are met.”
The president met with a handful of HBCU leaders in Washington last week, but campus gun violence was apparently not a focal point of the meeting, which came a year to the day after Trump signed an executive order making Black colleges “an absolute priority for the White House.”
Many HBCUs have increasingly struggled to keep their doors open, and the prospects of gun violence there going unaddressed likely hasn’t helped matters any.
Meanwhile, students from a Florida high school where a gunman launched a deadly shooting rampage last month have been pushing for gun control legislation across the nation. A former student shot and killed at least 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day, renewing calls to reduce ready access to weapons of war like the AR-15, which was used in the massacre.