Howard U on Alert After Online Threat

November 13, 2015

Officials at Howard University increased security on and around campus Thursday after someone claiming to be a University of Missouri student made a violent threat against students at the historically black university.

"We are aware of the threat made against the university and its students and are working with campus, local and federal law enforcement on this serious matter," Wayne A. I. Frederick, Howard's president, said in a statement. "This is an ongoing investigation. However, in an abundance of caution, the university has increased security on campus and at area Metro stations. We strongly encourage the campus community and our neighbors to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity." ​

Posted anonymously in an online forum Wednesday night, the threat was made by a person who claimed to be a Missouri student who came home to Maryland because he or she "couldn't put up" with the recent protests on campus. The author of the post said if any black students were on Howard's Washington campus or using the nearby subway stations on Thursday, they would be killed. "Sometimes the best thing to do is to put stupid out of its misery," the person wrote. "After all, it's not murder if they're black."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it is investigating the threat, and some Howard professors canceled classes Thursday.

Earlier this week, following the resignation of the University of Missouri's president, police arrested two people in Missouri for making similar threats against black students. On Thursday, Jonathan Butler, the Missouri graduate student who went on a hunger strike last week to protest the university's handling of a string of racist incidents there, tweeted about the Howard threat. "Dear Howard," he said. "Stand strong and remember that they can't break us."

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