Howard University is continuing increased security on campus and at nearby Metro stations on Friday, after officials learned of an online threat to harm people on campus.
The threat was made against the university and its students, Howard officials said Thursday.
The threat was posted on the website 4Chan, which allows users to post anonymously. The post spewed racial slurs and threatened to harm anyone still on campus after 10 on Thursday. Users of the site have a history of posting incendiary comments or threats, many of which turn out to be bogus.
While officials are taking the threat seriously, they said late Thursday night that the threat was "not followed by any additional threats or suspicious activity." Nonetheless, increased security will continue.
"We strongly denounce the sentiment expressed in the online threat becaise it speaks against the very freedoms that Howard University and our community stand for," the officials said.
Students, faculty and owners of surrounding businesses say they're staying vigilant.
The owner of the poplar family-owned Howard Delicatessen, located across the street from campus, said he's proud of how the Howard community has handled the threat.
Owner Kenny Gilmore said people who post online threats "get gratification from seeing us scared or reacting."
Howard students also held a rally on campus Thursday night for a similar purpose.
One student said it was painful to hear about the threat made to the community.
"It's hurtful, just knowing that this is an HBCU [historically black college or university]," she said. "People take pride in this school."
Howard officials said security has been increased out of an "abundance of caution." Students were not penalized if they chose to skip classes on Thursday because they were concerned, officials said.
Howard asked anyone who sees something suspicious to call the Howard University Department of Public Safety at 202-806-1100 or D.C. police at 202-727-9099.
The FBI is taking the lead in the investigation into the threat.
"We are aware of the online threat, and have made appropriate notifications..." the FBI said in a statement. "We urge anyone with information on the threat to contact the D.C. police department or the FBI."
Although the post was anonymous, former FBI criminal profiler Clint Van Zandt said the FBI usually can track down the person responsible.
"Everything has a date/time stamp on it, so as soon as the authorities identify the device that it came from and the date and time, then they do the normal shoe-leather type of investigation," he said.