The recent uptick in gun violence at HBCUs nationwide doesn’t seem to be scaring students, or their parents, to turn to other institutions. The education found at Historically Black Colleges and Institutions is one many families are determined to keep, despite demands for better safety on their campuses.
NBC News spoke to several parents of students attending HBCUs impacted by the rise of school shootings. In October, a month typically associated with festive Homecoming events, three universities were the sites of shootouts.
Morgan State and Bowie State University in Maryland had shootings within five days of each other; the cancelled its homecoming festivities. Jaylen Burns, a 21-year-old student at Jackson State University, was fatally shot while on campus, according to ABC7 Chicago.
Despite these incidents, some parents say that the pros of attending an HBCU outweigh the cons.
“HBCUs are too powerful, too meaningful to give up on,” shared Kim Sturdivant, whose son attends Morgan State while her daughter is at Howard University. “Security issues are serious and have to be addressed. Our kids need to be safe. The schools have to do whatever they have to, to assure that. But our kids love their HBCUs their classmates, the feeling of home, the connection that is different from any other college experience. It’s a unique experience, a feeling of family, that we all love and will see it through.”
“Most of the time, if not all of the time, the crimes we’re talking about are committed by kids who aren’t even enrolled in school,” said Arnette Williams Riggins, who is a grandmother of a potential HBCU student as well as a Norfolk State alumnus. “So you can’t really control that. But you can control where you get your education, who you are around. And he and I both want an HBCU experience for him. It’s the best and it’s overall a safe environment because you’re around people who really care about you.”
RELATED CONTENT: Morgan State University Latest HBCU Impacted By Shooting