The oldest historically black university in D.C. received a threat to campus safety this morning as students at schools across the country take up the issue of racial discrimination.

Early Thursday, reports surfaced on Twitter that an anonymous author had posted a death threat targeting students at Howard University to an online comment board. The author writes that he “left [Missouri University] yesterday because he just couldn’t put up with it anymore,” likely a reference to protests against racism that have rocked Mizzou’s campus this past week.

In an email to students, Howard President Wayne Frederick said the university is “aware of the threat” and is “working with campus, local, and federal law enforcement on this matter. This is an ongoing investigation.” Frederick said “in an abundance of caution” security has been increased on campus and at nearby Metro stations.

It’s not immediately clear who wrote the alleged threat or how it came to the attention of Howard. In it, though, the author(s) screeds against African Americans, using the n-word repeatedly. It appears to have been posted late Wednesday, around 7:30 p.m. “Any [slur] left at Howard University after 10 tomorrow will be the first to go,” the post reads. “Sure the po po will take me down, but I’ll go out a hero knowing I made the world better.” It is unclear whether the author meant 10 a.m. or p.m., and if the threat is credible in the first place. On Twitter, Howard students and others shared and reacted to the post. At least one professor seems to have chosen not to cancel class:

The Metropolitan Police Department could not immediately provide information on the threat, and a spokesperson for the FBI’s Washington Field Office asked to see a copy of it before commenting.  

Update 12:34 p.m.: The FBI has released the following statement: “We are aware of the online threat and have made appropriate notifications. We urge anyone who has information about the threat to contact the Metropolitan Police Department or the FBI.”


Update, 5:54 p.m.: Howard’s president addressed the threat on CNN.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery