By Sam P. K. Collins
At least seven historically Black colleges and universities — including Howard University — received bomb threats Tuesday that triggered evacuations and interagency investigations.
Authorities have not yet determined whether there are any connections between the threats.
Howard officials released a statement detailing their response to the situation.
“Howard’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) was made aware of a potential bomb threat by the Metropolitan Police Department,” the statement read. “The MPD dispatch center reportedly received a call from an anonymous individual who said two bombs had been placed in the Administration building on Howard’s campus. Upon arriving at the scene, DPS and MPD secured the perimeter, evacuated the building, and deployed canines. Both departments searched the area. No active devices were found, and the area was cleared.”
Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University, Florida Memorial University, Prairie View A&M University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff counted among the other universities that received bomb threats.
North Carolina Central University officials took steps similar to Howard in mitigating the situation, including locking down the campus, notifying students and families, and working with county officials and law enforcement at nearby North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
At Norfolk State, local authorities, in collaboration with Virginia state police and the state’s FBI branch, conducted an investigation that wrapped up Tuesday night.
Neither Florida Memorial University, Prairie View A&M University, Xavier University of Louisiana or the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff responded to The Informer’s inquiry about their response to bomb threats received.
These bomb threats come months after ransomware attacks brought on-campus activity to a standstill at HU, Prairie View A&M and other universities. A million-dollar initiative has since been launched to help HBCUs upgrade their cybersecurity.
In years past, the federal government has also established partnerships with HBCUs, via the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with emergency preparedness serving as an area of focus.
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