Historically Black colleges have been targeted since the start of the year. Eight HBCUs received bomb threats on Jan. 4, each from callers who used racial slurs. On Jan. 31, at least seven schools received similar calls. On Feb. 1, the start of Black history month, 18 schools were called with campus bomb threats and more threats followed throughout the month. In total, more than a third of all HBCUs were targeted. The Biden administration launched an FBI investigation, labeling the incidents “hate crimes” and “Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism.” Six months later, there have been no arrests, Politico reports. No suspects have been named, there have been no public statements about what triggered the threats and no clarity on whether the incidents were linked.
“I’m beyond frustrated,” said Carmen Walters, president of Tougaloo College in Mississippi, at a gathering of HBCU presidents. “I’m very angry that no one has been brought to justice, but there’s been no conversation about the investigation at all.” To the school leaders, it seems as though the incidents that roiled their campuses have been forgotten. They say the threats that triggered lockdowns and evacuations, and shuttered classrooms, placed a financial burden on their institutions as they implemented hardened security measures. They want more money for safety upgrades, and they want to see those responsible brought to justice. The FBI said no explosive devices were found. HBCU leaders say not having a public arrest has created an uneasy atmosphere at their schools. The vitriolic calls, they say, took a toll on the mental health of students and their families, also under duress from the pandemic. The FBI said 34 field offices are “investigating a series of bomb threats targeting community colleges, colleges and universities across the country.”