Bowie State University and Howard University are among at least six historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States targeted by bomb threats Monday, according to school officials.
Other schools that reported bomb threats include Albany State University, in Georgia; Bethune-Cookman University, in Florida; Delaware State University and Southern University and A&M College, in Louisiana.
The bomb scares come one day before the start of Black History Month, and less than a month after a series of bomb threats were made to multiple HBCUs.
The FBI “is aware of bomb threats received by some Historically Black Colleges and Universities," the agency said in a statement. “The FBI takes all potential threats seriously, and we regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine their credibility."
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Local, state and federal law enforcement officials are investigating the threats and their motives, Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo said at a news conference held Monday afternoon on Bowie State’s campus in Bowie, Maryland.
“Investigators believe numerous threats throughout the area and throughout the nation were coming in targeting several historically Black colleges and universities,” she said.
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the threats on Monday and was working with local law enforcement to continue investigating, Acting Deputy Director Thomas Chittum said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the threats "are certainly disturbing, and the White House is in touch with the interagency partners, including federal law enforcement leadership on this.“
“We’re relieved to hear that Howard and Bethune-Cookman universities have been given the all-clear, and will continue to monitor these reports," Psaki said. “The president is aware — I don’t believe he’s received the formal briefing — but he is aware of these reports.”
Bomb Threat Reported at Bowie State University
Officers and K-9s searched Bowie State’s campus for hours Monday after someone called the university at about 6 a.m. and claimed there were explosives on campus, Russo said. Police from multiple agencies responded and began a search.
“Every inch of the Bowie State University is being scanned by K-9s and searched by our investigators,” Russo said.
A number of police cars could be seen on campus as law enforcement went building by building to check for potential hazards.
Anyone on campus was told to shelter in place starting at about 7:30 a.m. The campus was closed, and classes were held online. The shelter-in-place order was lifted more than six hours later, at about 2 p.m. No devices were found, school officials said.
Bowie State University President Aminta Breaux called the threat “unsettling" for faculty and students, more than 1,000 of whom live on campus.
“It’s unfortunate that our historically Black colleges and universities are being targeted in this way,” she said at the news conference.
Multiple Other HBCUs Receive Bomb Threats
In D.C., police investigated what they called a "possible bomb threat" to Howard University. A caller reported the possible threat at about 4:20 a.m., a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson said. Police responded and later gave the all-clear. Additional information was not immediately released.
“Our priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and we vehemently condemn all actions that threaten the safety of our community,” a Howard spokesman told NBC News.
In Georgia, Albany State University warned students and faculty on social media that “a bomb threat was issued to Albany State University's academic buildings."
School officials at Southern University and A&M College told students to stay in their dormitories and until an all-clear was given.
In Florida, Daytona Beach police said in a tweet they have cleared the Bethune-Cookman campus of any bomb threat. But classes were canceled for the day and the agency will have a police presence on campus for the rest of the day.
Delaware State University spokesperson Carlos Holmes told local news outlets a bomb threat to that campus was made early Monday morning.
A number of HBCUs, including Howard University, were targeted in bomb threats earlier this month, NBC News reported.
“We are deeply disturbed by a second round of bomb threats at HBCU campuses within a month," the co-chairs of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus said in a statement Monday.
“Learning is one of the most noble and most human pursuits, and schools are sacred places that should always be free from terror," it said. “Solving these crimes and bringing those responsible to justice should be a top priority for federal law enforcement."
Bowie State will continue to give students a world-class education, Breaux, the school’s president, said.
“We will not be deterred,” she said.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.