Alcorn State University, Jackson State, Tougaloo among schools targeted by HBCU bomb threats

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Several Mississippi higher learning institutions were targeted by bomb threats on Tuesday, in the latest in a string of threats affecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the nation.

Alcorn State University, Hinds Community College, Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, Mississippi Valley State University and Rust College were all targeted.

Alcorn announced at 6:19 a.m. Tuesday that it was suspending in-person classes and switching to virtual instruction for the day, out of precaution. All employees, except for emergency personnel (police, fire, EMS and dining) were instructed to work remotely.

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“Alcorn State University takes all threats seriously and remains vigilant in our efforts to maintain the safety of our campus community,” a statement from the university read.

Information from Alcorn State’s communications department specified that the call came in at 3:59 a.m. on Tuesday. The campus was given the all-clear at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

Tougaloo also opted for virtual instruction, although college administrators acknowledged the campus had received the “all-clear” from local authorities.

JSU, in a statement from University President Thomas K. Hudson, said the threat came in around 4:15 a.m. on Tuesday. The JSU Department of Public Safety worked with the Jackson Police Department to investigate and sweep the campus.

“They gave an all-clear signal, and we have resumed our operations,” Hudson said in the statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation and have heightened the presence of law enforcement and enhanced our campus safety measures.”

Class proceeded as scheduled for JSU students, with an enhanced law enforcement presence on campus throughout the day. Students, faculty and staff were asked to have their ID badges on display at all times.

Hudson decried the threat to both his university and other historically Black institutions across the country, thanking law enforcement for their efforts to keep his campus and others safe.

A series of bomb threats were made to multiple historically Black universities on Jan. 4, and again this week. At least a half-dozen HBCUs in five states and the District of Columbia received threats on Monday, and more were made Tuesday. Both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating, the agencies said in separate statements.

“The recent threats to HBCUs across the country are a shameless attempt to dampen our sense of safety and freedom by attacking locations traditionally considered a haven for all pursuing an education in a nurturing environment,” Hudson, the Jackson State president, said. “We take every threat to our campus community seriously. However, we will not be deterred in our pursuit of the promise of the American dream.

“… We will not succumb to any attempts to incite fear amongst our community or disrupt our mission to create global leaders who will help eradicate ideologies that impede our progress as a nation.”