Bomb threats made to multiple HBCUs including Bowie State, Howard

Police respond to Bowie State University’s Charlotte Robinson Hall on Jan. 31, 2022, amid a bomb threat. (WTOP/John Domen)

Bomb threats were made Monday against several historically Black colleges and universities Monday, including two in the D.C. region: Bowie State and Howard.

Maryland State Police issued an all-clear Monday afternoon after an extensive search of Bowie State Monday morning. A shelter-in-place order has been lifted at the school, but virtual classes and teleworking will remain in place for the rest of the day.

Howard University said D.C. and campus police responded to a bomb threat made by phone around 4:30 a.m. Monday, naming the area near the Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Administration Building. No threats were found, Howard later added, and an all-clear was given.

These come less than a month after many of the same schools fielded similar threats, which were all determined to be hoaxes.

Bowie police got the call making the threat around 6 a.m. Monday, according to Maryland State Police. Also aiding in the investigation are Prince George’s County police; Bowie State’s Police Department; the Maryland Transit Administration; Amtrak Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the University of Maryland Police Department.

Police activity Monday morning appeared to be centered on Charlotte Robinson Hall. The Maryland State Fire Marshal said its bomb technicians and explosives detection units were assisting campus security with building sweeps.

Bowie State University’s president, Aminta H. Breaux, called Monday’s threat “unsettling” as the search for explosives proceeded Monday.

“I want to assure the parents and families who are watching that we have responded quickly. Law enforcement is here in force, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep this campus safe,” she said.

At least four of the nation’s other HBCUs have been targeted by similar threats: Georgia’s Albany State University, Florida’s Bethune-Cookman University, Louisiana’s Southern University and A&M College and Delaware State University were all forced to close or lock down Monday.

WTOP’s John Domen and Colleen Kelleher and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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