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Howard University Receives Bomb Threat on Last Day of Black History Month

Side view of WHUR with police presence following bomb threat. Photo courtesy of Alana Matthew.

The Howard University community was notified of a bomb threat at 9:42 this morning from AlertHU, which indicated the threat was made to WHUR, the university’s radio station building which sits on Bryant and 4th St.

At 10:23 a.m., an “all clear” was issued and all individuals were permitted to return to the building. 

Sean Plater, the general manager of WHUR, told The Hilltop that the bomb threat was made over the phone and picked up by an employee. During the time the threat was made, WHUR staff were airing the Steve Harvey Morning Show. 

“It was a normal morning, we were doing our normal morning show. There was staff in the building, probably about five or six people,” Plater said. “There was a bomb threat made over the phone that we responded to and we immediately informed campus police and they took it from there.”

The university issued a ‘Shelter in Place’ for WHUR, instructing all persons on campus to “stay away from WHUR” until more information was available. No other building was under “shelter” or “evacuation” order, according to university police. 

“I applaud Bison for their proficiency in emergency situational awareness and crisis management,” Marcus Lyles, the executive director of public safety and chief of police, said in a letter to The Dig.

“The shelter-in-place at the WHUR/WHUT broadcast complex was addressed swiftly and thoroughly by the men and women of our Department and those in the Metropolitan Police Department. Our students and employees working to keep our radio and television networks on the air were uninterrupted and undeterred in their work,” Lyles added.

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Tuesday morning’s bomb threat marks Howard’s third with the first two bomb threats made in late August, shortly after the school year began. This threat comes two days after the Howard University Alternative Spring Break Radiothon hosted in WHUR and is Howard’s ninth threat since January 2022.

Freshman political science major Atlanta Atkinson was in the Undergraduate Student Library when a friend showed her the alert notification from AlertHU.

“‘Another one, like, again?’” Atkinson recalled saying. “And I think the fact that it was on the last day of February – it should hold some more validity maybe.”

Freshman chemistry major Arthur Codrington was studying for his midterm in Alain Locke Hall when a friend sent a screenshot of the bomb threat alert to a group chat he was in.

“I just kind of shrugged it off and was like ‘Oh, another Howard thing,’” Codrington said. “I think we’ve been through so much. We’re kind of desensitized from a lot of things… wasn’t much panic.”

Codrington continued by saying, “I’m sure it was like some white person decided ‘oh let me go put a bomb threat at an HBCU and end Black History Month with a bang.’”

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Following the recurring bomb threats last school year, a team of FBI investigators shared in a press briefing in November that they identified the minor who was responsible for the bomb threats made to Howard and numerous other HBCUs between Jan. 4, 2022, and Feb. 1, 2022, however, no arrests were made. 

According to the FBI, “Given the federal limitations for charging under-age perpetrators with federal crimes, the Department of Justice worked with state prosecutors to hold them accountable on charges unrelated to the specific threats to the HBCUs. This individual is under restrictions and monitoring of his online activities.” 

Regarding Tuesday morning’s bomb threat at WHUR, details of an investigation have not yet been released. 

WHUR is Washington, D.C. ‘s only stand-alone radio station and one of the only university-owned radio stations in America, according to the website. The radio station has been broadcasting since 1971, its website says, and has received numerous awards such as the NAB Marconi for Best Urban Station of the Year and NAB Crystal Radio Award for Excellence in Community Service.

The story is developing and The Hilltop will continue to update as new information is available. 

Copy edited by N’dia Webb

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