Recent threats to local HBCUs leave students on edge

Posted at 8:35 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 21:05:18-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - In the last two days, three local historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) in our area have received bomb threats.

Hampton University received a threat Wednesday, February 23, and Norfolk State University and Elizabeth City State University both received threats Friday, February 25.

“I’m not gonna lie... it was kind of scary,” said Hampton University student Quentin Davis.

Students are reeling after threats at the three HBCUs rocked the campuses. The "all clear" was given on the incidents, but the effects remain.

“It definitely takes a toll on us mentally," Hampton University student Kennedy Smith said."Even me - like, I struggle with many mental health aspects, so adding this is just icing on the cake, like something else to worry about."

The FBI is investigating the threats. They said there were 57 institutions targeted from January 4 to February 15. That figure is not including the three bomb threats that happened this week in our area.

The FBI released a statement, saying, "We recognize the fear and disruption this has caused across the country, and we will continue our work to make sure people feel safe in their communities, schools, and places of worship."

“It’s kind of depressing, because I don’t hear about this from any other schools, any PWIs [predominantly white institutions] or anything. I’m not sure why it’s happening at HBCUs, but it’s spreading fast," Davis said.

Dr. Kristie Norwood, the director of the Student Counseling Center at Hampton University, recommends students talk through what they're feeling with someone trusted.

“Something of this nature could cause what we call a trauma response, so like you’re mentioning feelings of anxiety, feelings of unsettled, feeling uncertain about what could transpire in the future," Norwood said, ",now that there are resources out there and that we don’t have to go through this experience or make sense of these emotions or feelings or thoughts on your own."

The FBI is investigating these cases as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.