Update: 12:45 p.m. ET (Feb. 3, 2022) – The FBI has identified suspects in the wave of bomb threats to HBCU campuses. According to NBC News, six minors have been named persons of interest in the violent threats. The official called the suspects “tech savvy” and says they allegedly used methods to hide the source of what appears to be racially motivated threats.
CNN reported no arrests have been made, however, in a statement the FBI claims the investigation “is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country.” The statement added, “Although at this time no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations, the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats.”
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Multiple Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been targeted by bomb threats. On Monday (Jan. 31) and Tuesday (Feb. 1) more than a dozen campuses across the country were forced to pivot operations for student and staff safety. According to CNN, campuses were locked down and classes were postponed or shifted to a virtual format.
The following schools reported threats over the past two days via social media or school websites as of Tuesday morning: Kentucky State University, Coppin State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Alcorn State University, Tougaloo College, Morgan State University, Jackson State University, Howard State University, Fort Valley State University, Xavier University, University of the District of Columbia, Spelman College, and Edward Waters University.
On Monday, the threats included the campuses of Albany State University, Southern University and A&M College, Bowie State University Bethune-Cookman University, and Delaware State University in Dover according to USA TODAY.
Morgan State President David Wilson issued a statement on Tuesday after closing the Baltimore campus. In the memo, he called for federal law enforcement to properly investigate the threats at all HBCUs.
“Our history has been one where we have endured all kinds of challenges and disruptions, but we have always emerged stronger. I’m hopeful that these bomb threats to our National Treasure, and to many of our other sister HBCU institutions, will be aggressively investigated by the FBI,” wrote President Wilson.
In a statement provided to USA TODAY, the FBI claimed to be “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 statement continued. “As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.”
While most of the threats remain anonymous, USA TODAY reported the bomb threat to Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla. was made by a person affiliated with a neo-Nazi group who also threatened an active shooting according to Police Chief Jakari Young.
“I will say that these [threats] are certainly disturbing. And the White House is in touch with the interagency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership, on this,” Psaki remarked. “We’re relieved to hear that Howard and Bethune-Cookman Universities have been given the all-clear, and we’ll continue to monitor these reports. The President is aware. I don’t believe he’s received a formal briefing, but he is aware of these reports. And obviously, as you noted, law enforcement authorities would be running point.”
Unfortunately, although it is only Feb. 1, this round of menacing is the second instance in 2022 where multiple HBCU campuses were subjected to bomb threats. The Washington Post reported, Spelman College, 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 reported bomb threats on Jan. 4.