MARYLAND — On the first day of black history month, at least 12 historically black colleges and universities were forced to temporarily cancel classes after receiving bomb threats.
Two of the schools are located in the heart of Baltimore, Coppin State University and Morgan State University.
“When we've seen sister institutions throughout our nation deal with this we mentally said it's just a matter of time,” Dr. Anthony Jenkins shared.
Coppin State’s president has been in talks with other HBCU presidents like at Howard and Bowie State facing the same bomb threats Coppin and Morgan State received Tuesday morning.
“I won't speculate to who's doing this or why they are but it is disruptive to the educational process and its my hope that this comes to an end sooner rather than later,” Jenkins said.
It’s a hope he and Coppin State’s Student Government Association president have in common.
“We all saw the campus-wide email of staying in place, stay down and all workers will be teleworking and you'll be doing virtual classes today. Its crazy,” said Justin Evans
Coppin State's student body of about 21 hundred students moved all classes virtual, and their staff members who could were asked to from home.
Dr. Jenkins' main objective is to keep calm at Coppin.
“Inform our campus but not create any type of urgency, fear those type of things so that was really our process from the start and I'll tell you that process worked well,” shared Jenkins.
While Coppin State's president isn't rushing to any conclusions--as a student-- Justin evans has his own theories based on decades of history
“They threatened to bomb us when we had the idea to start these institutions. they threatened to bomb us when we built these institutions and they threatened to bomb us when we opened these institutions so this is nothing new,” he said.
Coppin State says at this time there is no credible threat to the university and while it put a halt on Tuesday's plans,
“We won't be deterred by this. We will continue to forge ahead and continue to commit ourselves to the educating of our students and transforming their lives,” said Dr. Jenkins.
Morgan State University President, David Wilson, released this statement after the threat was initially made.
Dear Morgan Family,
Since sending out an alert earlier this morning about the bomb threat we received, a few of you have contacted me to inquire as to whether this is real. Unfortunately, and sadly, it is. The campus is being searched building-by-building this morning with our residential halls being searched first. Fortunately, nothing has been discovered within any of our residential facilities. Rawlings Dining Hall and our Student Center are being searched now so that dining services can prepare meals once those facilities are cleared. The sweep of all office and academic buildings will proceed after these initial searches have taken place, and we will issue an update to the campus community as soon as possible.
Morgan is one of the most historical and consequential universities in the nation. Our history has been one where we have endured all kinds of challenges and disruptions, but we have always emerged stronger. I’m hopeful that these bomb threats to our National Treasure, and to many of our other sister HBCU institutions, will be aggressively investigated by the FBI.
My message to you this morning is to stay strong, remain resilient, and continue to prepare yourselves to grow the future and lead the world because our nation and world desperately need more leaders steeped in the values we teach here at Morgan. Those values are Leadership, Integrity, Innovation, Diversity, Excellence and Respect. Hate is not one of them!
Congressman Kweisi Mfume released a statement on the threats:
“Bomb threats just before the January 6th insurrection anniversary, intimidating calls to HBCUs on the heels of President Biden extolling his intention to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court and now at the start of Black History Month menacing messages about explosives at two Baltimore institutions of higher learning. These perpetrators are examples of the perilous path of hate as they try to bully students, faculty, and administrators. This must not be allowed to stand,”
“This third round of bomb threats on Historically Black College and University campuses across the country must be met with a rapid response from federal and state law enforcement agencies. Three places in Maryland where people come to learn, feel safe amongst their peers, and achieve their dreams were distracted by dastardly deeds of cowardice. Bowie State University, Coppin State University and Morgan State University were attacked with calls for violence, which given the context and timing of the calls, really beg the question of the odious motivations of hatred and racism. Not only do we celebrate Black Americans in February, but also remember the hardships so many had to live through to secure civil rights and voting rights.”
“Morgan State University students survived the lunch counter sit-ins at Read’s Pharmacy in late January of 1955 and have endured ever since. The resolve of HBCU students, faculty, and staff to protest segregation then and continue the struggle for equality now will be their continued hallmark. HBCUs have survived external threats. They are resilient institutions that will overcome these obstacles. However, it is up to today’s leaders to demand these hate crimes be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“I will continue to monitor the situation and ask that federal assistance be given to the local authorities to ensure the resources are deployed to apprehend, prosecute, and convict these hate mongers.”