Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said the school has beefed up security on the campus and in the vicinity of nearby Metro stops in the wake of a racist online threat the university received this week after students rallied against growing racial tensions at the University of Missouri.
“The online threat towards Howard University has not been followed by any additional threats or suspicious activity,” Frederick said Thursday, adding that the investigation is now being led by the FBI.
The posted threat, which quickly made the rounds on social media, vowed that blacks on campus at 10 a.m. Friday “will be the first to go” and that anyone attempting to escape by using the Metrorail transit “will regret that choice real fast.”
The school’s Department of Public Safety is working closely with the FBI, Metropolitan police and the Metro Transit Police Department, while university officials provide updates and additional information, Frederick said.
“We strongly denounce the sentiment expressed in the online threat because it speaks against the very freedoms that Howard University and our community stand for,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials and students at Bowie State University in nearby Prince George’s County are rallying against the painting of a swastika found early Thursday on their campus.
The offensive graffiti, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime and was immediately removed by campus staff, was discovered on a pillar at the historically black school’s Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Arts Center.
“This imagery symbolizes deep racial hatred and discrimination that goes against the core values of Bowie State University,” Artie Travis, vice president for student affairs, said Friday. “We support those students who have decided to rally in opposition to hate speech.”