Mississippi Valley State University went into lockdown mode Tuesday after receiving a bomb threat, as have other historically black colleges and universities across the state and the country since Monday.
A sweep of MVSU’s campus by university police officers and deputies from the Leflore and Washington county sheriff’s departments, however, found the bomb threat to be unsubstantiated, said Donnell Maxie, MVSU’s communications director.
Classes remained virtual all day Tuesday with only essential staff reporting to campus for work, Maxie added.
The university was expected to resume normal business operations Wednesday.
Early Tuesday morning, MVSU said in an announcement on its Facebook page that “campus police are conducting a complete investigation. School officials are working with local emergency personnel to investigate and determine the extent of the threat. All classes will be held through the virtual platform; all on-campus students will remain in their residence halls until it has been determined it is safe, and campus police have issued an all-clear.”
Essential staff who reported to work on campus Tuesday were required to wear visible campus identification while other university employees worked remotely.
The threat, the university said, was received at its guardhouse Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month.
Jackson State University, Alcorn State University and Tougaloo College were other HBCUs in Mississippi that received bomb threats Tuesday, the Clarion Ledger reported.
Sweeps by law enforcement officers of Jackson State and Tougaloo’s campuses found no explosives. Jackson State’s campus remained open Tuesday, though with Jackson police officers present on campus, while Tougaloo pivoted to virtual classes, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Students at Alcorn State University were advised Tuesdayto shelter in place, while faculty and staff were told not to show up to campus.
At least a dozen HBCUs across the country received bomb threats Tuesday, according to CNN. Howard University in Washington, D.C., was one of several that received threats Monday and Tuesday.
The FBI said in a statement that it is working with law enforcement partners to investigate the bomb threats.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, said Tuesday that he has contacted the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security regarding the threats.
“The spate of bomb threats against Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in recent days is incredibly disturbing and disheartening. It is not lost on me that these threats are targeting African American educational institutions at a time when we are observing Black History Month,” the congressman said, as reported by WLBT News. “Moreover, this rash of threats against HBCUs put further strain on campuses and communities that were already under great stress, as they try to operate safely during the pandemic.”
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