The FBI has identified people suspected of making bomb threats this week directed at historically Black colleges and universities – which the bureau is investigating as hate crimes, a law enforcement official said.
No arrests have been made, the official said.
At least 14 HBCUs reported bomb threats Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month. At least one of them, Howard University, also got a bomb threat Monday.
“We’ve had these challenges before,” Howard University President Wayne Frederick said Tuesday. But “since I’ve been here (as a student) in 1988, it has not been this widespread and also, I think, this overt.”
The investigation into the bomb threats “is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country,” the FBI said in a statement.
“Although at this time no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations, the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats,” the agency said.
The FBI declined to provide further information due to the ongoing investigation.
Students are sick of ‘unsolicited hatred’
As many of the schools postponed classes Tuesday as police searched for evidence, students said they’re fed up with threats against those just trying to get an education.
“I’m uneasy,” said Calvert White, 22, a student at Jackson State University in Mississippi. “HBCUs have a long history of physical threats just because of our existence. I think that the threats aren’t individual or coincidental – that it’s a clear attack on Black students who choose to go to Black schools.”
While it’s not clear who made the threat, “I think the uncertainty, especially in the age of Covid and heightened race relations, is part of the goal of whomever has been making the threats,” he said.
In Atlanta, Spellman College student Saigan Boyd said she saw an email about a threat Tuesday morning.
“It was very disturbing … It made me feel as though that I am not safe,” the 19-year-old said.
“It makes me realize how there are still these terrorists that are trying to stop minorities from advancing or just getting a simple education from a predominantly Black institution,” Boyd said.
“I’m just ultimately tired of dealing with this level of unsolicited hatred,” she said. “I’m just tired of being terrorized like how my grandparents were.”
Boyd said she is more “disappointed and annoyed than anxious. I just feel that a lot of time has passed for us to keep going through this same pattern of racism.”
CNN’s Evan Perez, Holly Yan and Paul P. Murphy contributed to this report.