This story is from reports by T&D staff; Jaliah Robinson, editor of Claflin’s student newspaper, The Panther; and T&D Correspondent Terry Benjamin, a Claflin mass communications student.

The spate of bomb threats made against HBCUs hit home on Wednesday.

Claflin University became the first historically black college in South Carolina to receive a threat, which proved to be unfounded.

Still the threat prompted concerns similar to those expressed by students at other HBCUs in five states that have received threats since Feb. 1. Despite the “all clear” from the federal government on the threats, students fear what could happen.

“It definitely keeps me on alert because as part of the Black community, multiple HBCUs have been targeted and it feels threatening, almost like an attack on us,” Pocahontas Belton said.

Claflin receives bomb threat

Dejane Lawrence said, “I think that this was definitely premeditated and strategically thought out. South Carolina just had a ceremony for HBCU Day and now there’s a bomb threat at the oldest HBCU in the state.”

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Claflin announced at about 10 a.m. Wednesday that a bomb threat had been received.

The notification email stated, “All students, faculty, and staff are asked to immediately evacuate all academic and administrative buildings. On-campus residential students are asked to return to their respective residential halls.”

Classes were moved to virtual for the remainder of the day.

Non-residential students, faculty and staff were asked to exit the campus. Staff was asked to work remotely from home.

At about 3 p.m., Claflin declared the campus to be “all clear.”

In an email to campus email accounts, the university stated: “The search of all of our buildings is complete and we have been given the ‘all clear.’

“The campus is currently closed for all activities. The Dining Hall is now open for all on-campus students to retrieve take out meals.”

Claflin ‘all clear’ after bomb threat

Students said they appreciate the thoroughness of the search but were ready for the situation to be over.

Lucas Cuseo said, “I think that there are issues with how they’re dealing with it, like food, control of the people, general updates and communication. But I think they’re also doing a good job of making sure the major areas are cleared and that the students are safe.”

Belton questioned keeping students on campus.

“It’s been a lot of mixed emotions. The situation as a whole, where on one end, they took good precautions and on the other there’s a bomb threat, then why are students being held on campus? Was it really the best way to keep us safe?”

Trevaughn Thomas said, “The lockdown was smooth. The cops came to check the rooms to make sure everything was in order and all the staff were off campus. … A lot of students were shocked because we weren’t expecting a bomb threat.”

Claflin said the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety is handling the investigation, referring inquiries to DPS.

DPS later in the day said information about the situation would have to come from Claflin.

No other details were available, including information on how the threat was received.

The FBI Columbia field office said it is providing assistance.

Media reports quoted FBI officials as stating: “It is too soon to say if this incident is connected to other HBCU bomb threats that have recently been made. The FBI takes all threats with the utmost seriousness and we are committed to thoroughly and aggressively investigating these threats.”

They asked that anyone with information call the field office at 803-551-4200 or submit a tip to

Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, also received an unverified bomb threat on Wednesday.

The university stated: “In accordance with campus policies and procedures, campus operations are suspended including classes, until further notice.  University employees and commuter students are asked to exit the campus in an orderly manner.  Residential students should shelter in place.”

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