FBI probes bomb threats against Black colleges as hate crimes

Chris Strohm
Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating a series of bomb threats against several historically Black colleges and other institutions across the country this week as hate crimes.

“This investigation 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 Tuesday. “These threats are being investigated as Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism and hate crimes.”

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More than a dozen historically Black colleges, other universities and religious institutions have reported bomb threats in recent days, forcing some of them to lock down their facilities and spurring a national federal investigation. Howard University, Kentucky State University and Morgan State University were among the schools impacted.

The threats, coming on the first day of Black History Month, follow similar incidents that targeted HBCUs earlier this year.

“The recent threats to HBCUs across the country are a shameless attempt to dampen our sense of safety and freedom by attacking locations traditionally considered a haven for all pursuing an education in a nurturing environment,” Jackson State University President Thomas Hudson said in a statement on the school’s website Tuesday.

Morgan State University in Baltimore was among several historically Black colleges and universities across the nation that faced bomb threats early Tuesday. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS)

The FBI said no explosive devices have been found at any of the locations but “the FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats.”

FBI officials have repeatedly warned in recent months that individuals or small groups motivated by racial or ethnic hatred are the most dangerous and lethal domestic terror threat.