On Feb. 2, the AASCU Government Relations Team participated in a briefing hosted jointly by the
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to update higher education stakeholders on recent spate of threats started in early January that has grown to include at least 28 HBCUs and seem to
follow a pattern of a spoofed phone call or email that promises a future bomb attack followed by gun violence.
While the FBI did not view the threats as credible, the
announcement that six “tech savvy” juveniles
aligned with neo-Nazi organizations had been identified and interviewed as persons of interest was welcome news. However
continued threats against historically black houses of worship, colleges, and universities in a month set aside to honor and celebrate the immense contributions of African Americans to our country, including one which closed Spelman College for a third time, prove that the individuals interviewed were
not responsible for all intimidations and further investigation is needed.
Security experts agree that continued vigilance is the best way for the public to assist the intelligence community. At present 20 FBI field offices are helping to investigate bomb threats against at least 17 HBCUs across the country. On Monday, Feb. 7, DHS
issued a national bulletin warning of a heightened threat of domestic and foreign terrorism in the United States against domestic infrastructures, including “soft-targets” such as institutes of higher education (IHE) and houses of worship.
Both agencies have made federal resources available to IHEs including information on available national security grants, access to protective security advisors, and threat assessment briefings. Accordingly, AASCU has been asked to share the following information with our membership who
can use the links below to contact the relevant federal partners:
POC: Traci Silas, Executive Director (acting) in the Office of Academic Engagement
POC: Jim Tarasca, Deputy Director of the Counterterrorism Division (FBI)