A flurry of unconfirmed bomb threats disrupted life at more than a dozen universities this week, drawing the attention of the White House and the FBI.
Of particular concern are threats to historically black universities and colleges, or HBCUs, including at least 17 instances of temporary cancellations of in-person classes and closure of schools. home.
President Biden was aware of the threats, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said at a news conference news conference in Monday.
“I would say these are certainly worrisome,” Ms. Psaki said. “And the White House is communicating with interagency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership, about this.”
The FBI said in a statement that it is “working with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats.”
Authorities have so far not described any of the threats as credible. But school officials at many universities have taken precautions, such as sweeping campus buildings and switching to remote instruction. Some HBCUs have received several threats this year.
Representative Val B. Demings, Democrat of Florida and former police chief, say on Twitter on Monday that threats against black colleges historically “require a response.”
“As a former law enforcement officer, I will continue to work to ensure our law enforcement organizations and agencies have the resources they need to keep all students safe. our students and our community,” said Ms. Demings.
On Monday, at least seven HBCUs, including Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La., and Delaware State University in Dover, Del., received bomb threats.
At least 10 other historic black colleges, including Spelman College in Atlanta, reported threats on Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month. The threats were made in the early hours of the day, according to several affected schools.
Tiara Sankar, student at Hinds Community College, closing four facilities of Hinds County, She., after being threatened with a bomb, said Tuesday that she feels angry and scared.
As she drove home on a road that bypassed the campus, she thought about how the bomb had disrupted her studies, forcing her to miss school for the day.
Ms Sankar, 22, said: “For us to be targeted like this, it makes me angry and hurt because this is still happening. “And mentally, it hurts, too.”
At least four schools made the announcement “all clear” as of midday Tuesday, including Kentucky State University; Howard University in Washington, DC; and Jackson State University and Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss.
At Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., a man claiming to be part of a neo-Nazi organization made a threat to detonate a bomb at the university on Monday, Sheriff Jakari Young of the Daytona Beach Police Department said at a news conference in Monday.
Classes were canceled and authorities found no bombs, police said.
Sheriff Young said the FBI is investigating and monitoring local officials so they can “connect the dots with other threats that have occurred” at other HBCUs.
Only on Tuesdays, UCLA say All of its classes for the day will be remotely controlled “under extreme caution” after several school staff received threats from a specific person. The school saysAccording to law enforcement officials, the person is not in California and is “under surveillance.”
Investigations were still underway as of Tuesday morning at several historic Black colleges, including those that have received numerous threats this year.
“The threats are despicable,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College in Atlanta, in an email to students and staff Tuesday. “They’re designed to make us feel scared and vulnerable.”
In a letter Marcus Lyles, the school’s police chief, says that while recent threats against the university are not credible, they are “a drain on the institution’s and city’s resources and a spiritual burden.” Spirit is not necessary for individuals who are trying to learn and work on our campus. ”
At least eight HBCUs also received threats on Jan. 5. Many campuses were nearly empty because of winter break and the coronavirus pandemic, but dorm rooms and administrative buildings were cleared.
A week later, the University of Utah reported that their Black cultural center also received a bomb threat.
Recent bomb threats at historically black colleges and universities have followed a series of unfounded threats in November at several Ivy League schools as well as campuses in Ohio and California. Those threats were later deemed unreliable.
Eduardo Medina contribution report.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/us/hbcu-bomb-threats.html Historically Black Colleges Interrupted by Bomb Threats