On Tuesday, at least seven historically Black colleges and institutions received bomb threats, prompting administrators to evacuate each campus. One of the universities targeted was Howard University in Washington, D.C.
On Jan. 4, 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 Xavier University of Louisiana, the nation’s only historically Black and Catholic university, all reported bomb threats to authorities.
In response to the threat, the targeted HBCUs issued to staff and student evacuation and/or lockdown notices on their campuses.
The North Carolina HBCU’s management handled the alarm, according to the News & Observer. North Carolina Central University (NCCU) issued a warning to students and staff at 5:34 p.m., directing them to “go immediately to the nearest exit and evacuate the building.”
Students who were unable to return home were accommodated at the Hillside High School parking lot. Also released were teachers and administrators.
“#EagleAlert: All students who require off-campus transportation to the evacuation location should report to the Mary Townes Science Complex parking lot’s Lower Lot.”
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 sent in to canvas the HBCU’s campus in an effort to ensure that it was clear.
The police departments of neighboring N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill were also notified to ensure that the institution was safe.
Howard was alerted by the Metropolitan Police Department about a threat made over the phone regarding “a pair of bombs” being planted in the school’s administration building. The Mecca, as the school is known, collaborated with MPD in the search for the bombs.
Following a comprehensive examination into the explosives threat, the colleges issued public statements reassuring the public that the campuses are safe.
Norfolk University’s “Mighty Green and Gold” tweeted a “All Clear” message in the middle of the night.
“All clear,” Howard University tweeted. The Howard University Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Montgomery County Police Department (MPD) responded to a possible bomb threat on campus this afternoon. The area around the boundary was protected and combed. The area has been cleansed and no active devices have been discovered.”
The threats were proven to be false at each school, and investigators were unable to identify whether the hoaxes were racially motivated. Social media, on the other hand, was not so sure about that evaluation.
“Keep praying as hate is more contagious than COVID & the day before Jan. 6?” tweeted social historian and Director of the Derek Olivier Research Institute Edmond Davis. HBCUs are already facing financial difficulties. “Come on, haters!”
“Many historically black colleges and universities received bomb threats yesterday. One Twitter user, @leftandleaving7, wrote, “White supremacy is real, deadly, and an increasing threat.”
“Threats of bombs??? Meh… “It ain’t going to stop the visibility of HBCUs and the expanding reach of the HBCU Mission,” joyfully tweeted user Herbert L. Seward III.
“Feds need to be on the clock to catch these guys, though,” he said, urging officials to be on the lookout.
According to the Washington Post, three Ivy League institutions got similar threats at the end of last year, indicating that while the number of bomb threats in America has decreased, actual explosions are on the rise.