Several historically Black colleges and universities in the United States received bomb threats on Monday, forcing schools to issue shelter-in-place orders while canceling classes and operations for the day.
Albany State University in Georgia, Delaware State University in Delaware, Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana, Howard University in Washington, Bowie State University in Maryland and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida were among the schools that received threats.
"Due to an emergency on campus, classes will meet virtually. Persons on campus should shelter in place until further notice," Bowie State University said in a message on the school's website.
Delaware State University said it had told employees and students not to come to campus until further notice. "We've instructed our residential population to remain in the dormitory while a search of the campus is taking place, and that is ongoing at this point," a university spokesman said.
It was the second time this month that Black colleges and universities faced bomb threats. On Jan. 5, eight historically Black colleges and universities received such threats, but no suspicious packages or explosives were found.
Federal and local authorities were investigating the incidents. Tom Chittum, the acting deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) confirmed on Monday that the agency was on the scene to investigate bomb threats at the schools.
"It is a federal crime to use interstate facilities to make a bomb threat," he told reporters in a call. "ATF will provide our investigative expertise and support to that investigation. But obviously the facts are preliminary."
Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, was placed on lockdown Monday morning, the Daytona Beach Police Department said, after a bomb threat was reported. Police said around noon they had "cleared the campus of any bomb threat" but added that they will remain at the campus for the rest of the day. Classes were canceled at the university.
The District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department said that at Howard University the "scene was cleared without any hazardous materials being found" after a threat was reported earlier.
Southern University and A&M College said on its website that classes were canceled and students were to remain in their dorm rooms until an all-clear was issued.
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