The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) issued an all-clear today after investigating Howard University’s fourth bomb threat since the start of the new year. It has been only about two weeks since the university received its third threat, along with numerous other HBCUs at the time.
MPD and Howard’s Department of Public Safety “swept the campus and identified the threat actor,” the university said in a statement. “No active devices were found. All facilities, grounds and campus access points have been cleared and deemed safe for regular business and access.”
“The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces are leading the investigation into the nationwide series of bomb threats to HBCUs,” the university added.
Howard students received a university message at 10:55 a.m. regarding a “credible threat” being investigated and calling for an “emergency shelter in place.” They also received two alerts on the Bison Safe app at 11:22 a.m. The all-clear notification occurred about 1:10 p.m.
“I was sitting in my room preparing to leave to go to the library, and I was shocked and confused,” LeAnne Roberts, a legal communications major, recalled after seeing the message. “When it said ‘credible’ … I knew that I would not be on that campus today.”
Everyone on campus was required to shelter in place at the buildings where they were currently stationed or to enter the nearest building, whether that included dorms or academic buildings. The university also stated that “auxiliary services, instruction and activities are paused or amended during this active order.” Students reported not being able to leave or enter any buildings following the emergency order.
Caleb Brown, a senior TV and film major, was on campus when the emergency shelter order was given and was one of the students stuck in the Met Building where the Cathy Hughes School of Communications has relocated temporarily.
“SOC got the door blocked they won’t let people leave,” Brown tweeted. About 15 minutes later, he followed up by saying that the school had put everyone in an auditorium and began “playing music.”
Ryan Thomas, a senior majoring in journalism, described the climate on campus after everyone was able to resume their activities.