‘Feds Need to be On the Clock’: Howard University Among Seven HBCUs Targeted on Same Day with Bomb Threats

At least seven historically Black colleges and universities received bomb threats, on Tuesday, leading to the schools’ administrations evacuating each campus. Howard University in Washington was one of the institutions targeted.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Florida Memorial University, Howard University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University, Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and the nation’s only historically Black and Catholic university, Xavier University of Louisiana, all alerted authorities of bomb threats on Jan. 4.

Howard University
Howard University students said they’ve seen an increase in local residents encroaching on their safe spaces on campus. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

In response to the threat, the targeted HBCUs issued evacuation and/or lockdown notices on their campuses to the faculty and students.

The News & Observer detailed how the administration at the North Carolina HBCU handled the alarm. At 5:34 p.m., North Carolina Central University (NCCU) sounded an alert to those on campus instructing them to “proceed immediately to the nearest exit and vacate the building.” 

Students who were not able to return to their homes were secured in the Hillside High School’s parking lot. Teachers and administrators were also released.

“#EagleAlert: All students who require transportation off campus to the evacuation point should report to the Lower Lot of the Mary Townes Science Complex parking lot.”

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In efforts to make sure that the campus was clear, NCCU Police, Durham Police, Durham County Sheriff’s Office, Durham Fire Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Durham City/County Emergency Management were brought in to canvas the HBCU’s campus.

Both of neighboring N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill Police Departments were also contacted to assist in making sure that the school was safe.

Metropolitan Police Department notified Howard about a threat phoned in to MPD about “a pair of bombs” being left in the school’s administration building. The school, often referred to as The Mecca, worked with MPD to search for the bombs.

After a thorough investigation into the explosives threat, the universities released statements to the public communicating that the schools are safe.

The “Mighty Green and Gold,” Norfolk University tweeted an “All Clear” announcement in the middle of the night. 

Howard University tweeted, “All clear. Howard’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and MPD responded to a potential bomb threat on campus this afternoon. The perimeter was secured and searched. No active devices were found and the area has been cleared.”

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Each school determined that the threats were unfounded and authorities were not able to determine if the hoaxes were racially motivated. However, social media was not as confident with that assessment.

Social historian and Director at the Derek Olivier Research Institute Edmond Davis tweeted his suspicions, “Keep praying as hate is more contagious than COVID & the day before Jan. 6? HBCUs are already under fiscal threat.. C’mon haters”

“Many HBCU’s got bomb threats yesterday. White supremacy is real, is dangerous, and is a growing threat,” one Twitter user @leftandleaving7 tweeted.

“Bomb threats??? Meh…Still ain’t gonna stop the visibility of HBCUs and the expanding reach of the HBCU Mission,” user Herbert L. Seward III triumphantly tweeted. 

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Still, he petitioned authorities to be on alert, “Feds need to be on the clock to catch these folks, though…IJS.

The Washington Post also reports at the end of last year, three Ivy League schools received similar threats, noting that while the frequency of bomb threats in America has gone down— actual bombings are on arise.


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