Howard University students, walk near the University’s main gate in Washington (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(Updated 11/13/2015) Nightfall on Howard University’s campus on Nov. 12 saw the usual early evening parade of students headed to class, study groups or dinner breaks around the Georgia Avenue corridor—despite a well-publicized social media threat against those students by a disgruntled University of Missouri supporter.
The threat, posted by an anonymous blogger Nov. 11 on the website 4chan, read in part: “any n—— left at Howard University after 10 will be the first to go. And any of these cheapstake n—— who try to get out using the metro will regret that choice real fast.”
Many professors canceled classes as a result. In a statement, Howard University president Wayne A.I. Frederick said, “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. This is an ongoing investigation.”
In this Nov. 9, 2015, file photo, students cheer while listening to members of the black student protest group Concerned Student 1950 speak following the announcement that University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe would resign at the university in Columbia, Mo. In the ouster of the Missouris president, leaders of student groups on other campuses dealing with racial strife see an opening to press their own university administrators for better treatment of black students. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Asking that the campus maintain an abundance of caution, an increased security presence was noted both on the campus and surrounding the immediate area, including the Metro station several blocks away.
Students at Howard, a historically Black college nicknamed the Mecca, continue to stand in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri, whose protests over entrenched racism at that institution recently prompted the university’s president and vice chancellor to resign.
“I trust the security set in place at this school so I am not worried about the threat,” graduate student Terrence Ife told the AFRO while studying outside the campus Starbucks. “There are a lot of cowards who hide behind social media who are the new lynch mobs. If they can scare you out of progress, they will.”
Ife’s sentiments were common among students and employees of businesses surrounding the campus. However, others took note of a similar threat at Maryland’s Bowie State University that same afternoon, where swastikas were spray-painted on a column at the Martin Luther King Jr. Communications Art Center.
“The people making threats don’t realize they are actually making the case for us. Racism exists in real time for us just as it did for our grandparents,” Bowie State student Simone Petry told the AFRO. “Microaggressions, profiling, attempting to intimidate us—it is not about Blacks being smarter, having poor character, or being different, it’s about many Whites being racists.”
Recently, Black students at several schools have begun taking action against ingrained racism, bias, and an unwillingness among administrators to address incidents of racial intolerance.
Social media threats against Black students include a similar incident in Missouri where White college student Hunter Park, allegedly posted a threat to “stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every Black person I see.” Park was arrested and faces a single Class C felony charge of making terroristic threats.
“There’s a growing frustration of students of color as to how they’re being treated on campus…and we’re hearing and seeing that,” Frederick said in an interview with CNN on Nov. 12.