An overnight bomb threat forced Howard University students to evacuate two residence halls early Friday for the second time during the fall semester's first week of classes.
D.C. police say officers investigated the threat and found nothing. Authorities have "leads" on where a call may have originated, a university spokesperson said.
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said this was the eighth bomb threat to the university this year and called the threats terrorism.
“For the second time in 48 hours, students have had to evacuate residence halls during the late hours of a school night. People who love and care about them, parents, university employees, alumni, and so many others, have had to wrestle with anxiety about the veracity of another terroristic act,” Frederick wrote in a letter to the community.
We're making it easier for you to find stories that matter with our new newsletter — The 4Front. Sign up here and get news that is important for you to your inbox.
“We were sleeping in the middle of the night and, like, the fire alarm went off and we weren’t sure what was going on,” one student told News4. “We just had one earlier, so everybody just left the building — same as we did before.”
Authorities swept the two residential buildings. Human, animal and mechanical explosive-finding devices were used in the search, a university spokesperson said in a statement.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
The Metropolitan Police Department declared the towers all-clear about 5:30 a.m., according to the university police department. Dozens of students were seen walking across the street and back toward the residence halls, many wearing pajamas.
“This is a moment I’ll probably remember at this school,” another student said. “It was surreal.”
The university says it is in contact with federal officials, who have been assigned to investigate similar threats.
"We appreciate the support of the MPD and members of the bomb unit for their quick response," a statement from the university read.
The university president was briefed on the matter and went to campus to observe the investigation and speak with staff and students, the university police department said.
Frederick said it was difficult to see students standing in Banneker Park and walking in the night to other buildings on campus. He commended the students for evacuating the buildings in an orderly fashion, and asked that the faculty be understanding that some students had a sleepless night and may be dealing with trauma and anxiety. Howard's dorms opened earlier this month, and formal classes began Monday.
Another bomb threat forced students to evacuate Cook Hall late Tuesday. The D.C. police department's bomb unit responded and gave the all-clear early Wednesday.
During the last school year, historically Black colleges across the country were the targets of many threats.
HBCUs including Howard, Morgan State and the University of the District of Columbia received bomb threats in January and February. Threats also targeted Albany State University, in Georgia; Bethune-Cookman University, in Florida; Delaware State University and Southern University and A&M College, in Louisiana. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the threats, and President Joe Biden and the FBI were aware of them, officials said.
In April, fraternity and sorority sites on Howard’s campus were found defaced, the school said.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.