Students at Howard University were forced to evacuate the school after receiving two bomb threats last week, reports The Hill.
On Friday morning, East and West Towers, which houses over 1,800 students, was evacuated following an anonymous bomb threat. Students gathered around campus in various locations as they waited for clearance to return to their dorms while dressed in their pajamas. Last Tuesday, students evacuated Howard's Cook Hall because of a bomb threat received by phone.
Local police and university officials conducted a sweep of the dorms with K-9 units. According to their findings, investigators have leads on the location of the call where the bomb threats were made. Following the incidents, the school administration said they’ve been in contact with federal officials who are investigating similar threats against HBCUs.
President Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard University addressed the matter in a letter to the students and staff on Friday. Frederick said the most recent threat is the school’s eighth bomb threat this year, describing the latest incident as “another terroristic act.”
“I want to extend my appreciation and admiration, especially to our students, for your continued understanding during the great difficulty of bomb threats against our campus,” wrote Frederick. “For the second time in 48 hours, students have had to evacuate residence halls during the late hours of a school night. People who love and care about them, parents, university employees, alumni, and so many others, have had to wrestle with anxiety about the veracity of another terroristic act.
“It was difficult for me to witness in person students sitting in Banneker Park and heading to trailers on Sherman Avenue and crossing Georgia Avenue on their way to Blackburn Center in their pajamas and sleepwear,” he continued. “This is terrorism, and it must stop. Nonetheless, I was impressed by their orderly nature and model citizenry in times of crisis and maintaining care for the Howard community through sharing accurate information about incident statuses and personal safety in traditional media and social spaces. Your accurate information sharing is helping us to mitigate the crisis.”
“I want to be clear about the university’s position on the narrative of these threats,” he added. “This isn’t about resilience and grit. We require extra resources from all law enforcement agencies directed towards solving this ongoing threat and bringing those who perpetrate its negative effects to full justice under the law.”
The incidents at Howard come months after several HBCUs received bomb threats in February, The bomb threats were investigated by local and state police, the ATF, and the FBI.
“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 bureau said in a statement at the time. “As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.”
In response to the threats, several student leaders representing their schools met with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to share their concerns after their schools were the targets of bomb threats in March 2022.
Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who first called for the hearing back in February, said, “Any threat to these historic institutions cannot stand without severe consequences."
“It is incumbent upon this committee to demand answers on these disturbing attacks and reassure students, faculty, and staff of the HBCU community that their fundamental right to safety, adequate education, and overall well-being is protected,” he added.
Also in March, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that HBCUs were eligible for grants following bomb threats made against them.
Under the umbrella of the Department of Education, the Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) initiative provides resources for mental health and bolsters campus security with short-term, immediate funding for institutions that have experienced a “violent or traumatic incident.”
HBCUs are eligible to receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 which will be determined based on the school's specific needs.