HBCUs around the country are on high alert after 13 universities have reported bomb threats as of Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Two waves of threats started on Jan. 5 and again on Jan. 31, the day before the start of Black History Month. F.B.I. agents have apprehended six persons of interest regarding the case and have deemed the criminal actions a hate crime. Although potential suspects have been apprehended, Spelman College, a private HBCU in Atlanta, has temporarily closed its university due to the threats.
Some FAMU students have expressed concern about their safety on campus, especially moving in and out of the dormitory facilities throughout the day.
Alona Works, a first-year social-work major from St. Augustine, is spending her second semester at Florida A&M in FAMU Towers. Towers is a recently completed dormitory that opened in August 2021. Although the facility receives ample attention from the school, Works believes security measures should be increased.
“I feel like the issue is they don’t have everyone’s keys working. I’ve been here since the fall, and my key still doesn’t work, which could put me in a bad situation. Sometimes when I go to the front door to ring it, there’s nobody at the desk,” Works said. “During homecoming week, we just had random people in the hallways. You don’t have to pass the desk to come into the building; anyone can come in.”
William Hudson Jr., vice president of student affairs, believes the Department of Campus Safety & Security and other staff members are well prepared for all potential security problems that might arise on campus.
“Safety is paramount to Florida A&M University and that’s why we invest so much in the surrounding environment. Since I’ve been here, we’ve increased from approximately 300 cameras to 1,500 cameras on campus,” Hudson said. “We also go through safety protocols during new student orientation with parents and students, but also in the residence halls. The R.A.s are trained; everyone’s trained on campus safety, who to communicate with.”
To increase security in the dorms, Hudson recommends that students stay conscious of who is invited into the facilities. Students should only invite individuals who reside on campus or are immediate family members.
FAMU is the only HBCU law enforcement agency accredited by three separate law enforcement accrediting bodies, Hudson said. When walking around at night, students should utilize specific safety resources to help ensure maximum security throughout the campus. The Department of Campus Safety & Security provides resources to ensure students’ safety at all times.
Students can download the FAMU app to access safety measures such as LiveSafe, an app that provides a quick and convenient way to communicate directly with FAMU safety officials. The university also has emergency phone stations with “blue light” systems around the campus, giving students access to FAMU PD. Crime Watch also surveys the surrounding areas of campus.
For more resources on how to stay safe, visit the Department of Campus Safety & Security website.