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Harris-Stowe State University shuts down campus following bomb threats to HBCUs

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Harris Stowe State University in St. Louis shut down Tuesday after the university received a bomb threat. The threat comes a day after several historically Black colleges and universities nationwide received similar threats.

Harris-Stowe State University shut down Tuesday after the university received a bomb threat. The threat comes on the first day of Black History Month and a day after St. Louis City Hall and several historically Black colleges and universities nationwide received similar threats.

University officials received notice of a bomb threat and contacted St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI to investigate and check all campus buildings.

At least three other HBCUs received threats on Tuesday, including a second in two days at Howard University in the nation’s capital. On Monday, at least a half-dozen HBCUs ordered lockdowns or canceled classes after bomb threats.

In St. Louis, Harris-Stowe officials suspended classes and activities on the campus, the Williams L. Clay Early Childhood Education Center and the Harris-Stowe Impact Education Center, until the investigation is complete. Officials ordered employees and commuter students not to report to campus.

“We are working with the proper authorities to thoroughly investigate this potential threat,” university officials said in a statement. “The safety of our campus community is paramount, and we are taking every step, in conjunction with campus safety, law enforcement and the FBI to ensure the well-being of our community.”

LaTonia Collins Smith, interim president of Harris-Stowe, said during a press conference on campus that she believes the threat was associated with those that other HBCUs received Monday and Tuesday.

"We will recover from this, and we will continue to be a beacon of hope,” Collins Smith said.

The bomb threat at Harris-Stowe comes a day after St. Louis officials ordered people to evacuate City Hall after police received a call to investigate a bomb threat made against the building. Police later confirmed that City Hall was safe to reenter.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Copyright 2022 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Andrea Henderson joined St. Louis Public Radio in March 2019, where she covers race, identity and culture as part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America. Andrea comes to St. Louis Public Radio from NPR, where she reported for the race and culture podcast Code Switch and produced pieces for All Things Considered. Andrea’s passion for storytelling began at a weekly newspaper in her hometown of Houston, Texas, where she covered a wide variety of stories including hurricanes, transportation and Barack Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Her art appreciation allowed her to cover arts and culture for the Houston African-American business publication, Empower Magazine. She also covered the arts for Syracuse’s Post-Standard and The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.
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