For the second day in a row, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were the target of bomb threats across the country, with this latest wave coming on the first day of Black History Month.
Campuses were shut down and classes moved to remote learning following the threats impacting more than a dozen schools as of Tuesday morning.
The schools impacted include Howard University in Washington, D.C., Fort Valley State University in Georgia, Jackson State University in Mississippi, Xavier University in New Orleans, Edward Waters University in Florida, Morgan State University in Baltimore, Coppin State University in Baltimore, the University of the District of Columbia, Kentucky State University, Alcorn State University in Mississippi, University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and Philander Smith College in Arkansas. Spelman College in Atlanta and Arkansas Baptist College were also affected, according to local reports.
Some of the schools, including Howard University, received similar threats only a day earlier.
Roughly half of the affected schools, as of 11 a.m. EST, had either reopened or planned to reopen by noon.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told HuffPost it is aware of the threats and that both agencies are working with its law enforcement partners.
“As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately,” the FBI said in a statement Tuesday.
David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, which was founded in 1867, sent a letter to students and faculty Tuesday encouraging them to stay strong and resilient in the face of adversity.
“Morgan is one of the most historical and consequential universities in the nation. Our history has been one where we have endured all kinds of challenges and disruptions, but we have always emerged stronger,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Monday’s threats “disturbing” and said the White House is in touch with federal law enforcement leadership as they investigate. The Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus said the investigation into Monday’s threats should be “a top priority for federal law enforcement.”
“Learning is one of the most noble and most human pursuits, and schools are sacred places that should always be free from terror,” the group said in a statement.
There are roughly 100 accredited HBCUs in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education. These schools were established prior to 1964, the year that the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The schools’ principal mission at the time was to educate Black Americans, though today they enroll students of all races.