Spelman College shut down campus on Tuesday while Atlanta police investigated a bomb threat at the historically Black college, the latest in a rash of such incidents across the nation.
School authorities sent a text alert to students revealing that the school’s Department of Public Safety had received the threat and urged them to return to residence halls immediately. This is the third such threat this year at the college and the second this month.
According to officials, the school received the threat roughly at 9:50 am, with no information about a location or time of detonation, leading police to sweep the campus.
In a statement, Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell called the attacks “despicable,” and targeted to make the community “feel fearful and vulnerable.”
This morning, @SpelmanSafety and @Atlanta_Police responded to a potential bomb threat at Spelman. The campus was on lockdown for four hours while officials completed a thorough sweep of the campus. Classes are canceled for today and the campus is closed to visitors. pic.twitter.com/KCAWvubctW
— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) February 8, 2022
Tuesday’s threat is the latest in a series of similar attacks on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with dozens of institutions receiving bomb scares since the start of the year.
At least 17 HBCUs have received these similar threats, including Morgan State, Howard, and Kentucky State.
Several high-profile universities, including Cornell, Columbia, and Brown, were also evacuated last November following similar alerts.
The spate of incidents has spurred a federal investigation, with the Department of Justice and the FBI working with state and local agencies to investigate the “violent extremism and hate crimes” directed toward HBCUs.
Repeated alarms have left the Spelman community fearful and frustrated. Students have voiced frustration that their identity makes them vulnerable to attack while they are just trying to get an education.
Sanzia Pearman, a second-year Spelman student, told 11Alive that the recent threat felt real and students became very anxious, as they were present on campus when they received the alert.
“I just came here to get that iconic, Spelman HBCU education and now I’m like, leaving class midway for a bomb threat, like what is going on?” Pearman said. “It’s definitely scary.”
HBCUs were established to provide Black students a safe environment to receive a quality education, which makes these threats bitterly ironic, Morehouse alumnus, Senator Raphael Warnock, stated.