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At least six historically Black colleges and universities receive bomb threats

Howard University in D.C. (Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post)

At least six historically Black colleges and universities received bomb threats early Monday, prompting campus closures and investigations.

Howard University in D.C.; Bowie State University in Bowie, Md.; Delaware State University in Dover; Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla.; Albany State University in Albany, Ga.; and Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge received reports of bomb threats throughout Monday morning, according to statements from the schools and local law enforcement.

The schools had all received all-clear notices by late Monday afternoon.

It’s the second time this month that numerous HBCUs reported such threats in a single day. In early January, at least eight historically Black colleges and universities received threats. There were no explosions then, and all of the schools reported all-clears by later in the day.

It was not immediately clear whether Monday’s threats were connected.

In a statement, the FBI said it was “aware of the series of bomb threats around the country” and was “working with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that President Biden was aware of the reports, though he had not yet received a formal briefing.

“These are certainly disturbing,” Psaki said, adding that the White House was in touch with “interagency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership,” and would continue to monitor reports.

At Howard, which was among the schools that received a threat in early January, D.C. and university police issued an all-clear less than two hours after a bomb threat was made about 4:35 a.m.

At Bowie State, authorities said “no devices” were found, though an investigation continued after a bomb threat forced a temporary campus closure. Maryland State Police said the scene had been cleared after a campuswide search, and the university said a shelter-in-place order had been lifted by the afternoon.

The state police department said earlier Monday that it was leading the investigation and responded to the threat alongside the state fire marshal. Numerous local law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, provided assistance.

A phone call targeting the university with a bomb threat came in to the city of Bowie’s police department just before 6 a.m., prompting an investigation, according to state police.

U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) called for a “complete and thorough investigation” and noted in a statement that it was the second time in January that HBCUs “have been targeted, and the terror it has caused raises serious questions about the existence of hate-based violence across our nation and in our communities.”

Howard University and at least 7 other HBCUs receive bomb threats, triggering evacuations and lockdowns

Southern University and A&M College said Monday afternoon that after a “thorough search” by the university police department and other law enforcement, it had received an all-clear following a morning bomb threat. The campus would remain closed for the day and resume normal operations and classes Tuesday, spokesperson Janene Tate said.

Albany State University said an all-clear had been issued after university police as well as local and state law enforcement agencies searched campus facilities. The university said Monday afternoon that it was safe to return to campus, though classes were postponed until Tuesday.

Delaware State said university police gave the all-clear just before 1 p.m. after looking into a morning bomb threat. An alert sent to the campus community early Monday noted that university police were working alongside Dover police to investigate.

The Daytona Beach Police Department said Monday that it had cleared the Bethune-Cookman campus of “any bomb threat.”

Classes were canceled and authorities asked the public “to not come onto the BCU campus for the rest of the day unless it’s absolutely necessary,” the police department said. Police were to be stationed on campus — including at entry and exit points — for the rest of the day, the department added.

Mariana Alfaro and Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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