“Why is this happening to us?” Morgan State community responds to bomb threat

Tuesday morning’s bomb threats targeting at least 16 HBCUs, including Morgan State, leave students concerned and worried about their safety.


Jordan D. Brown

Morgan State University was one of at least 16 historically black colleges and universities that received a bomb threat Tuesday morning.

Jordan D. Brown, Editor in Chief

When President David Wilson was notified of the bomb threats Morgan State University’s campus received early Tuesday morning, his initial reaction was to question why it was happening.

Wilson said, “My first reaction was why is this happening to us?”

He received a phone call at about 5 a.m. from Morgan’s police chief, Lance Hatcher, informing him the police department received a threat that several bombs were placed on Morgan’s campus.

Wilson did not speak further on the bomb threat suspect and the ongoing investigation, but his main priority was ensuring the safety of on-campus students.

“We didn’t know if this was a hoax, or if it was not. My immediate attention upon hearing this was about the students who are residing on campus and their safety,“ Wilson said.

His next move was to alert the campus with the limited information he had at the time.

The university implemented a shelter-in-place order and shut down access to the campus around 6 a.m.

While faculty and students woke up to an email of a bomb threat on their campus, the university conducted a campus-wide search across residence halls and campus buildings for any harmful materials. 

Kyli Ross, freshman nursing major, was aware of the other threats HBCUs received within the last month, so it did not come as a shock when it happened at her own school.

“I was more worried about how this keeps happening and what our school can do to stop these threats. As a student, it’s scary because you have no idea if there actually is a bomb or if people are just saying that to get a reaction out of these HBCUs,” Ross said.

She added, “It seems as if no one outside of our HBCUs really cares what’s happening to us.”

While the Morgan community waited for the university’s shelter-in-place to be lifted, fear persisted as more HBCUs reported threats to their campuses.

Along with Morgan, at least 15 other historically black colleges and universities received bomb threats Tuesday morning. The following universities reported bomb threats on Feb.1:

The universities listed in this map have received bomb threats within the past four weeks (Reginald Allen)

K’Dian Levy, a junior social work major, spoke on her the oddity of multiple HBCUs receiving bomb threats all at once.

Levy said, “It’s really crazy and weird that multiple HBCUs are receiving bomb threats all at the same time. I am scared, I’m not going to lie.”

However, no suspicious activity was found and Morgan lifted its shelter-in-place around 1:40 p.m.  After the fearful threat posed to Morgan’s campus, the university was set to return to normal campus operations on Wednesday with face-to-face instruction.

Wilson assured that the university would have security on campus to assess the safety of the environment throughout the day.

“Given what we have experienced, we certainly will have more eyes looking out for individuals who may have an attempt to do harm, who may not have a positive intent in mind,” Wilson said.

Although the initial search revealed the threat to be a hoax, it changed the atmosphere of the campus. Even with precautions set in place, not everyone feels it is enough. 

Sophomore sociology major, Jazmin Lovette, feels uncomfortable returning to in-person instruction following Tuesday morning’s bomb threat. 

“I honestly think they [campus security] should take two days and make sure everything is fine because this is the second week in a row that HBCUs as a whole are receiving bomb threats,” Lovette said.

She believes the HBCUs that recently received bomb threats should close their campuses until these threats are alleviated.

Wilson implores the FBI to investigate these targeted bomb threats.

“We are sending a message to the FBI, to Homeland Security and other federal agencies, U.S. Department of Justice, that we want them to pursue the perpetrator here vigorously, find out who it is and bring them to justice because they are creating havoc across our campuses and this has to stop,” Wilson said.

On Wednesday, the FBI identified six persons of interest sending racially motivated threats to HBCUs. The FBI is currently investigating the recent threats against the universities.

Jah’I Selassie, Thalya Baptiste and Ashlyn Wilson contributed to this article.