- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that it remains committed to using its resources to ensure historically Black colleges and universities have the tools they need to respond to bomb threats made against their institutions.
- DHS listed several recent steps it has taken to assist HBCUs and predominantly Black institutions, which together have been the target of 68 bomb threats this year. They include providing bomb threat response training and implementing grant programs to improve security at nonprofit organizations.
- For instance, the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, has developed resources specifically for universities and will host seven training events at five HBCU locations in the coming months to share more information on these assets.
Dozens of HBCUs have faced bomb threats over the past year, forcing them to cancel classes and even evacuate campuses. No one has been arrested despite an FBI investigation into the threats that started in February, prompting college leaders to call on federal officials to do more.
The DHS announcement lists the actions the department has taken but says “there is much more to be done.” The agency said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has expanded the agency’s services and resources to help HBCUs nationwide, following a pledge made in January to deepen partnerships with these institutions.
In mid-August, for instance, the department announced it was providing $250 million in grants to enhance physical security at nonprofit organizations at high risk of terrorist attacks.
CISA’s bombing prevention unit also developed resources to assist colleges with their responses to bomb threats.
That includes a YouTube video detailing the agency’s resources, consisting of online and in-person training as well as guidelines to help officials create response plans. It also explains how to respond to bomb threats made by phone, which the department says are the most common.
DHS said it has hosted multiple trainings over the past few months. That includes 20 trainings with more than 1,170 HBCU employees on how to prepare for and respond to bomb threats. The agency also helped hold five regional trainings for HBCUs over the summer. And it is planning several more training sessions at the institutions.
Additionally, the department worked with other federal agencies to create the HBCU K9 Bomb Detection Adoption Program. So far, three HBCUs have adopted bomb-detecting dogs to help support their response efforts.