March 25, 2023

Howard University students were forced to evacuate their Washington, D.C. campus for the second time in 48 hours after a bomb threat, the latest in a string of threats to historically black institutions in recent months.

According to a statement from the university, at 2:30 a.m. Friday, threats to the university were reported, targeting the east and west towers of the university’s main campus.

The Metropolitan Police and campus police in Washington DC evacuated students and cleared buildings by 5.30am.

Another university building was evacuated after “a man received a bomb threat” around 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday, according to police.

“For the second time in 48 hours, students have had to evacuate their residence halls late at school,” University President Wayne Frederick wrote in an article. letter Howard staff and students. “People who love and care for them, parents, university staff, alumni and many others, have to worry about the veracity of yet another act of terror. … This is terrorism and must stop.”

The latest incident marks the eighth time the university has faced similar threats since January, including threats of violence against students and staff at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States.

According to the FBI, at least 57 historically black colleges and universities received bomb threats between Jan. 4 and Feb. 16, and on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month, Dozens of campuses were targeted.

Earlier this year, the White House denounced the series of threats as “disturbing”; Vice President Kamala Harris, a Howard University graduate, said in a statement at the time that “every American should be able to learn without fear. , work, worship and meeting.”

“We have a responsibility to do what we can to protect all of our communities. Harm to any of our communities is harm to all of us,” she said.

Black college leaders and students also testify Earlier this year, the House Oversight and Reform Committee warned that the threat of violence from racism has sparked waves of stress and paranoia among students and staff, underscoring the need for safer campuses and addressing mental health needs.

Emmanuel Ukot, president of the Xavier University Student Union in New Orleans, urged lawmakers and federal authorities to help fund better safety measures on their campuses.

“Racist acts like bomb threats are not just an attack on our campus, but an attack on HBCU’s ideals and values ​​and its collective mission,” he said.

Howard University President Wayne Frederick is pictured at the White House Roundtable on Abortion Rights on Aug. 8.

(AFP via Getty Images)

In March, the White House also Announce Short-term federal funding to help HBCU campuses recover from threats of violence and “help restore a safe environment conducive to learning.”

Federal law enforcement, education and health agencies are also providing a “compendium of resources” for “long-term improvements in campus mental health programs, campus safety, and emergency management planning and response.”

In a letter to Howard students and staff, Mr Frederick said: “We must continue our efforts to better respond to the failed intimidation of these threats.”

He said he would speak with law enforcement agencies “to make sure this situation is escalated and prioritized.”

“I want to be clear about where the university stands on the narrative of these threats. It’s not about resilience and perseverance,” he said. “We need additional resources from all law enforcement agencies to address this ongoing threat and bring those who perpetrate its negative effects to justice.”

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