HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) —  The Hampton University campus reopened Wednesday after students and staff were told to shelter in place for several hours due to a bomb threat.

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According to Hampton police, the bomb threat was called in before 9 a.m. Both Hampton police and fire were on scene investigating the threat.

In an email from the Hampton University Pirate Notification System, the school community is asked to ‘shelter in place and await further instructions.”

Police tell 10 On Your Side around 11:45 a.m. that the lockdown was lifted.

10 On Your Side spoke to students.

“We got an announcement on our phones, but since we were taking a test we could not see it, so our teacher basically let us know that there was a Pirate notification saying that we all had to stay in our classrooms,” one student said.

According to another student, authorities responded to Wilder Hall, named for L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia’s first Black governor.

In response to the threat, Hampton University released the following statement:

“Hampton University received a bomb threat this morning at 8:46 a.m. The Hampton University Police Department in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies have swept the campus and found the threat unsubstantiated.

“An all-clear has been issued. The campus is open for normal business.

“Hampton University is committed to keeping the campus community safe, informed and healthy. The university takes any threats to the campus community’s safety seriously and remains vigilant in maintaining the safety and protection of the Hampton University family.”

Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-2nd District), released the following statement:

“My thoughts are with the students, faculty, and staff at Hampton University as they endured a bomb threat today. The recent threats made against Hampton University and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) during Black History Month are incredibly disturbing and warrant a thorough investigation. I’m grateful that the threat has been cleared, and I am working with my colleagues in Congress to condemn these threats of violence and ensure the safety and security of HBCUs across the country.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also released a statement calling the incident part of a “devastating trend.”

“This is a devastating trend across the country, that must come to an end. We are relieved that the Hampton University students are safe. The Governor’s office & Secretary of Ed. will continue open channels of communication w/ our HBCUs on these threats.”

The FBI also released the following statement to 10 On Your Side in response to the incident:

“The FBI is aware of the bomb threat received by Hampton University. The FBI takes all potential threats seriously and we are assisting our local law enforcement partners.  As always, we would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious to report it to law enforcement immediately.”

This is the latest threat in a string of recent bomb threats towards Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country.

Norfolk State University, for example, one was of several HBCUs to receive a threat on January 4. The threats appear to have been unfounded, with no universities reporting an actual bomb, suspicious package or attack the following morning. But many of the colleges ordered full evacuations for the students still on campus during the winter break. 

Several threats were subsequently made on January 31 and again on February 1. The FBI has reportedly identified six “tech-savvy” juveniles as persons of interest in connection to that series of threats.

In response to those back-to-back incidents, the president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute told the Associated Press that “living in the era of bomb threats is not new to people of color.”

Bomb threats are becoming increasingly more common across the country, especially at schools. Many schools across the country increased security in December 2021 after several posts about school shootings and bombings went viral on TikTok. The threats were not deemed credible.

A New York man was recently sentenced to two and a half years in prison after repeatedly threatening to blow up Langley Air Force Base in Hampton. That was several weeks after a student was charged with a felony after threatening to bomb William & Mary.

10 On Your Side is working to learn more.