The FBI has announced an investigation into bomb threats targeting historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
On Wednesday, February 2, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces released a statement confirming that the agency will lead an investigation into a nationwide series of bomb threats to HBCUs and houses of worship.
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country,” the statement read. “These threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.”
The agency said it is working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners and coordinating with the targeted institutions to share information.
According to an NBC news report, the FBI has identified six “tech-savvy” juveniles of interest around the country for making the threats. The teens were suspected of using sophisticated techniques to disguise the source of the threats which are said to have a racist motivation.
The institutions that have received threats include Howard University, in Washington, D.C., Morgan State University and Coppin State University in Baltimore, Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia, Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, and a half dozen more.
Although no explosives had been found at the schools, the timing of the threats, which started on February 1, the first day of Black History Month, has not been lost on officials.
Morgan State University President David K. Wilson confirmed in a statement that the school had received a bomb threat. But he struck an optimistic note, “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,” he said.
Due to the threats, security has been increased at many campuses, according to a report.
The FBI is encouraging members of the public to report any suspicious activity or information about potential threats to law enforcement immediately by calling their local FBI field office or submitting a tip to tips.fbi.gov.