SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 04, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Various Institutions

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 4, 2022, a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) throughout the United States received a series of bomb threats, disrupting classes and forcing law enforcement to respond.

The threats targeted a range of institutions, including Spelman College in Georgia; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Norfolk State University in Virginia; Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University in Texas; Florida Memorial University; North Carolina Central University; and Xavier University of Louisiana.

The threats led to a range of precautionary responses, including campus-wide lockdowns and evacuations. Many students were not on the targeted campuses at the time, as the threats occurred over the typical winter break period.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about targeted, violent, and racist threats aimed at intimidating members of the higher education community and disrupting classes and campus life. Threats aimed at intimidating racial minorities on campus undermine academic freedom, university autonomy, and equitable access overall. Federal, state, and university authorities should take reasonable steps to respond to and prevent such attacks, including by investigating and holding perpetrators accountable. In addition to the harm to the targets, such threats undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.