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Morgan State, Coppin State Campuses Cleared After Bomb Threats

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The campuses of Morgan State University and Coppin State University have been cleared after both historically Black colleges and universities received bomb threats on Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month.

About 1:57 p.m., Morgan State lifted a shelter-in-place order after no suspicious items were found following "a thorough and exhaustive sweep of the campus and its buildings, including all residential facilities on and off site."

The university said remote instruction will continue for all remaining classes on Tuesday, and access to some buildings will remain limited.

"The University will continue to work with local, state and federal law enforcement investigating of this matter," Morgan State said.

The Rawlings Dining Hall will remain open to accommodate students on campus, the school said. Normal operations will resume on Wednesday.

About 1:36 p.m., Coppin State University president Anthony Jenkins said the campus has been cleared by the Baltimore Police Department, FBI and campus security after the school received a bomb threat.

Classes and university services will resume at 5 p.m.

"We remain vigilant and will continue to work with Campus Safety, local and federal authorities to ensure that the campus remains a safe place for our students and staff to learn and work," Jenkins wrote in a letter to the university community.

In a statement, Gov. Larry Hogan said his office is closely monitoring the threats to both universities.

"Maryland State Police is supporting the federal investigation, and we stand ready to assist any way we can," the governor said.

Speaker Adrienne Jones of the Maryland House of Delegates called the threats made to HBCUs on the first day of Black History Month both "disappointing & shameful,"

"The resurgence in extremism requires more, not less, honesty in our education, media, & everyday conversations. Black History Month is about acknowledging where we've been to create a better future," Jones said.

Morgan State closed its campus on Tuesday morning and issued a shelter-in-place order after receiving a bomb threat, university administrators said. Students, faculty and staff were asked to stay put while the situation is dealt with.

It was the second day in a row historically Black colleges and universities were targeted by bomb threats. Bowie State University was one of at least six HBCUs to receive a threat on Monday.

In a statement, University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman called Monday's and Tuesday's threats "devastating and despicable."

"We stand in solidarity with our historically Black institutions, knowing that their strength is our strength, and that their power—on display like never before—will not be diminished by cowardly acts meant to menace and harm and intimidate," Perman said in part.

In an emailed statement Tuesday morning, Morgan State president David Wilson said authorities were searching the campus building-by-building, starting with residential halls, followed by the dining hall and student center.

"Our history has been one where we have endured all kinds of challenges and disruptions, but we have always emerged stronger," Wilson said in part. "I'm hopeful that these bomb threats to our National Treasure, and to many of our sister HBCU institutions, will be aggressively investigated by the FBI."

An alert message posted earlier Tuesday on Coppin State University's website asked students, staff and faculty to shelter in place while first responders evaluated a "campus emergency." As a result, all classes and work pivoted to online.

Howard University also ordered a shelter-in-place on campus after receiving a bomb threat about 3 a.m. The university was given the all-clear from police by 7:30 a.m.

This marks the second straight day HBCUs have been targeted by similar scares. On Monday, six schools including Bowie State University received bomb threats.

The FBI Baltimore Field Office issued a statement confirming it is aware of the recent string of threats:

"The FBI is aware of the series of bomb threats around the country, and we are working with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats. As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately."

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