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Dillard University is the latest Louisiana HBCU to receive bomb threat; 'all-clear' given

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Dillard University on Gentilly Boulevard.

Dillard University closed its campus Friday morning after officials said the school received a bomb threat, part of a string of similar threats toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Louisiana and across the country.

Law enforcement agencies were called to investigate, and the university received an “all-clear” later that afternoon, according to a statement shared with New Orleans Public Radio.

“Authorities determined that there was no threat to Dillard's campus,” the statement said, before thanking the New Orleans Police Department, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their partnership.

Campus remained closed Friday, disrupting midterm exams, which will now be administered after the school’s Mardi Gras break.

At least two other Historically Black Colleges and Universities received similar threats Friday morning, bringing the total number of bomb threats directed at HBCUs this year to more than 50.

Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans and Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge were among more than a dozen schools that received threats in early February.

No explosives have been found at any of the threatened schools.

The FBI has said it's investigating the threats as part of a hate crime probe involving more than 20 field offices.

Investigators identified six “tech savvy” juveniles as persons of interest in its investigation earlier this month, according to NBC News.

The caller who threatened Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida claimed to be affiliated with the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, local police chief Jakari Young said at a press conference.

Earlier this month, leaders of several Southern HBCUs gathered virtually to discuss the impact of recent bomb threats on their campus communities and a path forward.

Dillard had not yet received a direct threat, but its president Walter Kimbrough attended the event hosted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Kimbrough said students and faculty at HBCUs need to stand strong against threats of violence and not be subdued by fear.

“I think some of this will subside after a while, once there are some arrests and people see they are going to be held accountable,” he said. “We can't cave to those kinds of things because if we do, they win.”

Aubri Juhasz is the education reporter for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was a producer for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She helped lead the show's technology and book coverage and reported her own feature stories, including the surge in cycling deaths in New York City and the decision by some states to offer competitive video gaming to high school students as an extracurricular activity.