MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Over 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities were placed on high alert Tuesday after receiving bomb threats two days in a row.
Officials say the bombs threats began on Monday. Many of the threats were made against schools close to the Mid-South.
Those schools are Alcorn State University (MS); Arkansas Baptist College (Ark.); Jackson State University (MS); Mississippi Valley State University(MS); Philander Smith College (Ark.); Rust College (MS) and Tougaloo College(MS).
“Rust College did receive a threat this morning. The administration and security immediately contacted local authorities and they responded expeditiously to campus and brought out the bomb detection canines to do a complete sweep of the campus,” said Rust College’s Chief of Staff Tiffani Perry.
The bomb threats resulted in shelters-in-place orders and the cancelation of classes as authorities swept campuses looking for devices. No explosions have been reported.
After issuing an all-clear Tuesday morning, most of the schools increased law enforcement throughout their campuses, switched to virtual classes, and canceled all in-person activities.
“We have lifted our shelter in place but will have increased security on and around campus for the rest of the week,” Perry said.
Despite the threats, Historically Black Colleges and Universities remain on a mission to educate.
“Unfortunately, due to the brilliance HBCUs are producing, we continue to serve as a threat to some in our community even in the year 2022. However, in the face of adversity we will continue to persevere and continue to stand strong,” Perry said.
In Memphis, LeMoyne Owen College has not received any bomb threats. However, they tell WREG they are “aware of the threats being made at other HBCU’s.”
Several other HBCU’s across the U.S., including Howard, Albany State, and Spelman, also responded to threats.
Monday’s bomb scares came just one day before the start of Black History Month and less than a month after threats were made to seven HBCU’s on Jan. 4th.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated that President Joe Biden is aware of the threats being made and that federal law enforcement has gotten involved.
The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security said Wednesday that there does not appear to to be an immediate danger to any Mississippi campuses at this time. They encourage all Mississippians to remain vigilant for any potential “copy-cat” threats as they continue to work with their partners to investigate the incidents.