Today, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan met with 18 leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to discuss a range of issues, including partnerships to advance national security, recruitment of graduates from their campuses for national security careers, and campus security. This was the first ever engagement with HBCU leaders by a national security advisor.
HBCU presidents shared their desire to expand partnerships with Federal agencies to support groundbreaking research and improve curriculums to meet national security needs. HBCU presidents discussed ongoing work connected to critical national security topics including data science, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence & machine learning, nano-technology, energy systems, and international affairs. HBCU presidents also shared their commitment to work with the White House and Federal agencies to update their curriculums in criminal justice programs and humanities programs to include topics on security studies and factors that can contribute to mobilization to violence.
HBCU presidents also spoke about security challenges facing their institutions, most notably the challenges and concerns associated with recent bomb threats against HBCUs. Mr. Sullivan discussed existing U.S. Government resources available to campuses to help to bolster their preparedness and resilience against both physical and cyber-attacks, including the HBCU Bomb Threat Resource Guide, Stop Ransomware Guide, and SHIELDS Up Resource Guidance.
During the conversation, Mr. Sullivan also spoke to HBCU leaders about existing efforts to recruit talent from HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions, including through work President Biden directed in his White House Memorandum on Revitalizing America’s Foreign Policy and National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships. Additionally, Mr. Sullivan listened to feedback on how to expand the talent pipeline for national security and foreign policy fields. He articulated how the Administration is addressing some of the challenges that can prevent students from entering national security professions, including steps such as improving hiring timelines; expanding paid internships and student loan repayment; and broadening fellowships.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the vital mission of HBCUs. Through the American Rescue Plan, grant funding, and by forgiving capital improvement debt of many these institutions, President Biden has already committed nearly $6 billion in support.
The roundtable participants included:
- Dr. Felecia M. Nave, President, Alcorn State University
- Dr. Calvin J. McFadden, President, Arkansas Baptist College
- Dr. Lawrence Drake, President, Bethune–Cookman University
- Dr. Anthony Jenkins, President, Coppin State University
- Dr. Rochelle Ford, President, Dillard University
- Dr. Larry Robinson, President, Florida A&M University
- Dr. Anthony K. Wutoh, Provost, Howard University
- Dr. Thomas Hudson, President, Jackson State University
- Dr. Brenda Allen, President, Lincoln University
- Dr. David Wilson, President, Morgan State University
- Dr. Kimberly Ballard-Washington, President, Savannah State University
- Dr. Stanford Angion, President, Selma University
- Dr. Terri Harris Reed, Chief of Staff, Spelman College
- Dr. Adena Loston, President, St. Philip’s College
- Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, President, Texas Southern University
- Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, President, Tuskegee University
- Dr. Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University
- Dr. Charles Verret, President, Xavier University
From the White House:
- Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
- Joshua Geltzer, Deputy Assistant to the President & Deputy Homeland Security Advisor
- Curtis Ried, Deputy Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff, & Executive Secretary of the National Security Council
- Amanda Mansour, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Partnerships & Global Engagement, National Security Council
- Brent Robinson, Director for Partnerships & Global Engagement, National Security Council
- Dr. Dietra Trent, Executive Director for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities