What you should know
- Federal officials are investigating a series of bomb threats that have historically targeted black colleges and universities in the United States.
- Howard University was ordered to take shelter early Tuesday over a bomb threat. DC police say all is clear on campus now.
- Morgan State University canceled in-person classes Tuesday, and police are investigating at the University of the District of Columbia.
Bomb threats on Tuesday led to on-site protective orders for at least two historically black colleges and universities in Washington, DC and Maryland, officials said, just a day after a string of bomb threats against HBCUs across the United States.
Howard University in Washington, DC, and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland were among those placed under protection early Tuesday. Police told News4 that they were also investigating the University of the District of Columbia campus.
Howard University broadcast a campus emergency alert at 3:29 a.m. on Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month. Howard and DC Police gave the all clear, and the emergency shelter was lifted hours later.
Bowie State University and Howard University are among at least six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States that were the target of bomb threats Monday. This is reported by Tracee Wilkins, head of the Prince George’s County Bureau.
The bomb threat occurred around 2:55 a.m., Howard University said.
“A bomb threat against the university is being investigated. All individuals on campus are advised to protect themselves on site until more information is available,” the Howard University warning said. Further details on the alleged bomb threat were initially not available.
Morgan State University in Baltimore also reported a bomb threat on Tuesday and canceled face-to-face classes.
“Access to the campus will be closed as the university is working with emergency personnel to assess the situation. Everyone on campus should take shelter until further notice,” Morgan state officials said.
DC police were seen investigating near the University of the District of Columbia early Tuesday. Officers closed streets including the 4200 block of Connecticut Avenue NW and a portion of Van Ness Street NW.
“We’re looking into that,” said a spokesman for the UDC campus police. The spokesman did not initially confirm whether the investigation was related to a bomb threat.
Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Fla., and Fort Valley State University in Georgia also reported threats, NBC News reported.
Howard University and Bowie State University in Maryland were among at least six HBCUs targeted by bomb threats Monday, NBC Washington reported. Bowie State students prepared to return to campus Tuesday after officials postponed classes online due to Monday’s threat.
Police were investigating a “possible bomb threat” at Howard University on Monday. A caller reported the possible threat around 4:20 a.m., a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department said. The police reacted and later gave the all-clear. Additional information was not immediately released.
Howard University said in a letter to the community that several HBCUs have faced threats in recent weeks. The school says it coordinates with DC police and federal agencies to investigate threats.
Feds are investigating bomb threats against HBCUs
Monday’s bomb threats prompted a federal response. The FBI “is aware of bomb threats that have been received by some historically black colleges and universities,” the agency said in a statement. “The FBI takes all potential threats seriously, and we regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine their credibility.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the threats Monday and was working with local law enforcement to continue the investigation, Acting Deputy Director Thomas Chittum said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the threats “are certainly troubling and the White House is in liaison with cross-agency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership, on the matter.”
“We are relieved to hear that Howard and Bethune-Cookman Universities have received the all-clear and will continue to monitor these reports,” Psaki said. “The President is aware of this – I don’t think he received the formal briefing – but he is aware of these reports.”
Stay tuned to News4 for more on this developing story.