On Tuesday, February 1st, Alcorn State received an anonymous bomb threat at 4:00 am. The campus immediately advised all students to Shelter-in-Place for the duration of the day.
Faculty, staff and students were asked to not report to work or face-to-face learning. The Campus Police, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office, Claiborne County Emergency Management Agency and Natchez Police Department did a thorough sweep across both the Lorman and Natchez campuses, which resulted in the threat being deemed as not credible. However, the campus decided to take safety precautions and continue the Shelter-in-Place for the day.
Coincidentally, Alcorn was not the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to receive a bomb threat on the first day of Black History Month. At least 13 other HBCUs received bomb threats the same day.
Four other HBCUs in Mississippi which were included on the list were Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Tougaloo College and Rust College. Out of 13 HBCUs, no evidence of bombs were found on any of the campuses. Mississippi Representative and Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Bennie Thompson, issued a statement regarding his concern for Mississippi HBCUs.
“The 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,” said Congressman Thompson.
“These bomb threats against HBCUs deserve a full investigation, particularly given the dynamic terrorism threat landscape. I have engaged with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about these threats to HBCUs and am committed to working with HBCU leaders to get them the answers they deserve,” stated Thompson.
The FBI announced on February 2nd that they had identified 6 individuals of interest who had taken part in the hate crime. Due to their ages their names were not released.