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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
As students, teachers, and staff returned to campuses following New Year’s celebrations in January, eight historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) across the country were the target of bomb threats that triggered evacuations and police investigations. Later, during February—Black History Month—HBCUs were targeted with additional bomb threats. Almost 20 campuses have been impacted, including the alma mater of Vice President Kamala Harris, Howard University in Washington, D.C.
HBCU campus law enforcement departments have managed the bomb threats with a strong response that included stakeholder coordination; ongoing communication with students, faculty, and staff; and effective facility investigations. In addition, a collaborative partner network with federal partners was in place prior to the bomb threats that includes funding and resources through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). For example, during June 2021 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and HBCU leadership launched the Beacon Project to create meaningful “relationships between . . . HBCUs and the Bureau.” Immediately following the first bomb threat this year, the FBI began a federal investigation via the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, FBI field offices, and collaboration with HBCU law enforcement leaders including Bowie State University Interim Police Chief James Booker and Texas Southern University Chief Mary Young.
In February, DHS and other federal partners hosted a virtual symposium for HBCUs with presentations and resources on campus safety and resilience:
The Administration has implemented the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities and has regular meetings with HBCU leadership to share information and resources to increase campus safety.
The COPS Office is committed to ongoing collaboration with HBCUs across the country and supporting campus safety via funding, technical assistance, resources. In addition to the COPS Hiring Program (which funds hiring and rehiring of badged officers) and free virtual training via the COPS Training Portal, the COPS Office’s Resource Center also has many publications on campus and student safety, like the following:
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