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Morgan State, Coppin State lift shelter-in-place notices, FBI to investigate threats to HBCUs

Holmes Hall at Morgan State University
Baltimore Heritage/Flickr
Holmes Hall at Morgan State University. On Tuesday, Morgan State and Coppin State University received anonymous bomb threats, among the latest in a string of threats against historically Black colleges and universities nationwide.

Baltimore’s two historically Black universities received all-clear statuses Tuesday afternoon, after law enforcement officials swept the campuses for suspicious devices following bomb threats.

Coppin State University and Morgan State University received the anonymous threats early Tuesday morning. The institutions pivoted to online instruction and issued shelter-in-place notices while investigators searched the campuses.

Classes and university services at Coppin State are to resume at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. Morgan State is set to resume normal campus operations Wednesday.

The threats are among the latest to historically Black colleges and universities throughout the country. Bowie State University received such threats on Monday.

More than a dozen other HBCUs have reported threats, including Howard University in Washington, Bethune Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla. and Delaware State in Dover, Del.

“Morgan is one of the most historical and consequential universities in the nation,” university President David Wilson said in a statement. “Our history has been one where we have endured all kinds of challenges and disruptions, but we have always emerged stronger.”

Joining calls from other university leaders, Wilson added that he hopes the FBI aggressively investigates the bomb threats to Morgan and other HBCUs.

An FBI spokesman said the agency is investigating and working with law enforcement partners to address any potential threats.

Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones called the threats disappointing and shameful in a Twitter thread, connecting them to other racist attacks such as the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing of 1963.

“Sadly, threats against Black institutions aren’t new,” she wrote. “The resurgence in extremism requires more, not less, honesty in our education, media, & everyday conversations.”

In a tweet, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the threats disturbing.

"My team will continue to work with students, faculty, and alumni to make sure HBCUs continue to be a safe place for students to learn," he wrote. “Threats of violence will not be tolerated, period.”