/Mississippi HBCUs receive bomb threats on first day of Black History Month

Mississippi HBCUs receive bomb threats on first day of Black History Month

Nonprofit Mississippi News At the beginning of Black History Month, at least five historically Black colleges in Mississippi were threatened with bombings. Alcorn State University in Jackson, Mississippi Valley State University in Mississippi, Rust College, Rust College, and Tougaloo College were among the schools that received threats. According to the college’s Facebook page, Hinds Community College also received threats. Coahoma Community College was the only HBCU in Mississippi to not have received a bomb threat on Tuesday morning. Marriel Hardy, chief communication officer at Coahoma wrote in an email that college officials had discussed the possibility of a terrorist attack and reviewed its emergency preparedness plans. Hardy wrote that “Since these incidents started several weeks back, we’ve always been vigilant.” This latest threat is one of many that have been made against HBCUs throughout the country. Yesterday’s threats were made against Howard University in Washington D.C., Delaware State University at Dover, and Bethune-Cookman University of Daytona Beach (Florida). The Washington Post reported that all of these schools had given the all-clear by Monday afternoon. Multiple news outlets report that it is not clear if the threats are related. According to multiple news outlets, Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson who heads the House Committee on Homeland Security said Tuesday that he had “engaged with DHS and the FBI about these threats to HCUs” and was “committed to working alongside HBCU leaders to obtain the answers they deserve.” Maxine Greenleaf, chief communications officer for Mississippi Today, stated that Alcorn State University in Lorman received a bomb threat at 3 :59 a.m. She said that the administration put the main campus under lockdown, and is currently working to give an all-clear. Greenleaf stated that “our students are safe.” According to a Rust College press release, the administration gave the all-clear at 10:30 a.m. after using “bomb detection dogs” to sweep the campus. Mary LeSueur (director of public relations) said that the administration had discussed the threat to bomb on a conference call. Normal campus operations will resume tomorrow. After a thorough sweep by campus police officers from the Leflore-Washington county sheriff’s offices found that the bomb threat was not substantiated, Valley State’s communications director at MVSU, Donell Maxie told the Greenwood Commonwealth. The university posted on its Facebook page that Valley State’s guardhouse had been threatened with a bomb attack this morning. Officials had already issued a shelter in place order. Both Jackson State and Tougaloo College gave the all clear this morning. According to Tougaloo’s website, classes will be held online on Tuesday. It has also instructed employees and students not to commute to campus. Jackson State stated on Twitter that the campus will remain open with a “heightened presence of law enforcement as precautionary measure.” Officials delayed COVID-19 vaccinations for Tuesday. The university posted on Twitter that Jackson State University “takes any threats to campus community’s safety seriously” and “remains vigilant in maintaining safety and protection for the JSU community.” Students, parents, and alumni shared their concerns via social media. The threats were made at a time when HBCUs have been gaining popularity, and on the first day in Black History Month. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education president called the bomb threats “one of most clear examples of hate crimes committed based on race.” Hinds Community College announced that it had received threats to its four locations in Hinds County. Although Hinds Community College initially denied receiving a threat, the publication was updated.