Tuesday night’s mass shooting at a historically Black college (HBCU) campus in Baltimore was the third straight year that the week of its homecoming festivities has been marred by gun violence on campus.
Morgan State University canceled all classes for Wednesday and offered its students counseling resources as law enforcement officials worked to determine a motive for the shooting that left at least five people with non-life-threatening injuries near a dormitory building. The person or people who opened fire remained unidentified and at large as of early Wednesday afternoon, just days before Morgan State’s homecoming parade, football game and other related events are scheduled to be held.
The shooting victims were not immediately identified beyond their ages, which ranged from 18 to 22 years old – similar ages of the shooting victims from the previous two consecutive years when two people were shot in separate incidents on campus during weeks when the HBCU was getting its annual homecoming festivities underway.
In 2021, an 18-year-old Morgan State student was shot in the chest on campus on Oct. 23 of that year – a Saturday when homecoming activities were in full swing. The student was treated and released the following day, according to local news outlet WBAL.
I’m reporting live on @wbalradio just off campus from @MorganStateU with @C4WBAL & @BryanNehman as an 18 yr old #MorganState student was shot in the chest on campus over homecoming weekend near Montebello Complex. This happened Saturday evening at 6:40 after @MorganStBears game pic.twitter.com/USjl4FQpY2
— Scott Wykoff (@ScottWykoffWBAL) October 25, 2021
Last year, a 20-year-old man who was not a student was shot outside Morgan State’s student center on Oct. 8, also the Saturday of homecoming festivities, WBFF reported at the time.
In response to that shooting, Morgan State President David Wilson said the consecutive years of gun violence during homecoming was unacceptable.
“This is not how one treats a national treasure,” Wilson wrote in a message to the university community. “This is not how Morgan State University deserves to be treated.”
Wilson added later: “These things that occurred on our campus do not reflect the homecoming experience we wish to have affiliated with Morgan State University.”
This year’s shooting came as HBCU leaders and advocates have lobbied the federal government for more funding specifically to secure and protect Black colleges from threats of violence. Morgan State was also among the dozens of HBCUs targeted by an ongoing series of bomb threats just last year.
Lodriguez V. Murray, UNCF’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, said in August that Congress hasn’t matched the urgency shown by the situation at hand.
“All year long, we have asked Congress to protect HBCUs, and now is the time to pass the Homeland Security appropriations bill with language that directs the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to provide $100 million for HBCUs (annually) via the non-profit grants’ security program,” Murray said in a statement. “This program must administer the funds directly to HBCUs, not by the state governments. This will help HBCUs to be protected against threats by increasing security, developing plans on how to respond beyond simply calling the police, heighten the use of technology to monitor campus entry points, and make our environments the safe haven for learning they should be for the sake—and mental health and security—of our students.”
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