NORFOLK, Va. — Two historically Black universities faced bomb threats Friday, adding to the list of HBCUs across the country that recently had threats made against them.
People at Norfolk State University were asked to shelter in place, while Elizabeth City State University told students and staff to leave campus immediately after the threat there had been received.
“They were just saying stay in your rooms, and don’t even be walking in the hallways like that," said Norfolk State student Kylah Hunter.
Stanley Donaldson, a spokesman for NSU, said, "The Norfolk State University Police Department and its law enforcement partners are investigating the threat on campus."
An email sent to the NSU community said: "The University has received a bomb threat and asks everyone on campus to shelter in place and stand by for further instructions. Several law enforcement agencies have been notified and are investigating the threat on campus."
Shortly before 12:30 p.m., NSU police issued the all-clear, and the campus said it would resume normal operations.
The threat, which is NSU's second in 2022, remains under investigation.
At ECSU, students and employees with transportation were told to go home. The school asked students without cars to go to the Roebuck Stadium Parking Lot for transportation.
"Stay away from the campus area. ECSU is working with law enforcement to respond," the school tweeted.
Around 3 p.m., ECSU officials ended the evacuation and told students they could return to their dorms.
“We are grateful that students, faculty and staff are safe and sound," said ECSU Chancellor Karrie Dixon. "Thank you to the University Police Department and our law enforcement partners who acted quickly and supported us in responding to this threat today.”
Although both campuses were eventually cleared, there's been an alarming trend, nationally and in Hampton Roads this year.
The FBI has said it's investigating nearly 60 threats against minority institutions nationwide since January.
HBCUs in other areas also received threats Friday, including Dillard University in New Orleans.
"You're just doing it to wreak havoc and to make people feel unsafe where they are," said Hunter. "So what are you really gaining from that?"
Recently, the FBI said the agency is investigating the string of threats on HBCUs as a form of hate crime.
“These types of things are challenging because of technology," said Miller, who has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, including as a police chief.
Miller, who also teaches at Virginia State University, says these types of crimes can be hard to track down.
But Miller says HBCUs are resilient and have a history of overcoming adversity.
"It has a rich tradition, a tradition of success, and these types of events will not stop an HBCU," he said.