Multiple Black universities and colleges in the United States received bomb threats that put their campuses on high alert or on lockdown, a day after similar threats forced the cancellation of in-person classes for the day.
Local news outlets reported on Tuesday that Howard University in Washington, DC, Kentucky State University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Fort Valley State University in Georgia were among at least nine universities that reported receiving threats.
Howard University, one of the most prestigious historically Black colleges in the US, which also received a threat on Monday, gave the all clear on Tuesday morning, after the campus received a threat at 2:55am (07:55 GMT).
🚨The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Howard University Department of Police have issued an 'ALL CLEAR' in the investigation of a bomb threat made this morning at approximately 2:55 a.m. The Shelter-In-Place directive has been lifted.
— Howard University (@HowardU) February 1, 2022
The bomb threats, on the first day of Black History Month in the US, come after several other historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) told students and staff on Monday to shelter in place and cancelled classes for the day after similar threats. Authorities said they did not find any suspicious devices, allowing the schools to reopen.
On January 5, bomb threats were made to eight historically Black universities. No suspicious packages or explosives were found, but the events have been rattling nerves in a nation that is still reckoning with its history of racial violence and discrimination.
The 2020 death of George Floyd, who suffocated under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, set off months of nationwide protests in demand for racial equality and an end to police violence against Black Americans.
But racial tensions have been simmering. President Joe Biden’s announcement last week that he would nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court set off a new wave of intense debate on race, with Republicans accusing Biden of a “quota” hire.
On Tuesday, the FBI said it was aware of the threats and addressing the situation.
“The FBI is aware of the series of bomb threats around the country and we are working with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats,” the FBI said in a statement on Tuesday. It encouraged members of the public to report anything suspicious to the bureau.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday called the bomb threats “disturbing” and said Biden had been briefed.
At Fort Valley State University in Georgia, officials asked students to stay in their dorms.
“Campus is currently on lockdown. Residential students remain in dorms. Non-residential students and staff should NOT report to campus until further notice. Campus operations are suspended for the day,” the university said in a Tweet.
ALERT! XULA has received a bomb threat & is working w/ authorities. Campus will be remote until 12 p.m. today. Residential students should stay in their rooms until further notice. Continue to monitor official university channels. https://t.co/iOXZl61rm5@XULApres @XULAStuAffairs
— Xavier Univ. of LA (@XULA1925) February 1, 2022
Students at Xavier University in Louisiana were told to stay in their dorm rooms until further notice and to monitor university channels.
“ALERT! XULA has received a bomb threat & is working w/ authorities. Campus will be remote until 12 p.m.,” the school said in a Tweet.