I want to extend my appreciation and admiration, especially to our students, for your continued understanding during the great difficulty of bomb threats against our campus. For the second time in 48 hours, students have had to evacuate residence halls during the late hours of a school night. People who love and care about them, parents, university employees, alumni, and so many others, have had to wrestle with anxiety about the veracity of another terroristic act.
It was difficult for me to witness in person students sitting in Banneker Park and heading to trailers on Sherman Avenue and crossing Georgia Avenue on their way to Blackburn Center in their pajamas and sleepwear. This is terrorism, and it must stop. Nonetheless, I was impressed by their orderly nature and model citizenry in times of crisis and maintaining care for the Howard community through sharing accurate information about incident statuses and personal safety in traditional media and social spaces. Your accurate information sharing is helping us to mitigate the crisis.
As we debrief from our now eighth bomb threat of 2022, we must continue the effort to make our great response to the failed intimidation of these threats even better. We want to remind students that university protocols for evacuation mandate walking in groups, so that residence life personnel and public safety officers can more efficiently conduct head counts. Further, for your safety, we ask that you venture solely to the designated evacuation location.
We fully recognize that our faculty play an integral role in caregiving, especially after a sleepless school night. We want to remind faculty that compassion during these trying times is the hallmark of truth and service. We encourage reprieve for students who have dealt with anxiety, interrupted rest, and other factors that can stem from this kind of traumatic experience.
As a community, let's remember that our students need your understanding. For some, it may mean taking a day to rest. For others, it means attending class to be surrounded by peers and having one's mind occupied by the learning environment. Whatever it means to each student, let's take a respite from business as usual and show solidarity in our united stand against fearmongers who cannot and will not prevail in disrupting the Howard mission.
We encourage students who desire to speak with counselors about this experience to contact our University Counseling Service. Employees can access mental health services through our university health plans.
Finally, I want to be clear about the university’s position on the narrative of these threats. This isn’t about resilience and grit. We require extra resources from all law enforcement agencies directed towards solving this ongoing threat and bringing those who perpetrate its negative effects to full justice under the law. In the coming hours, I will be speaking to as many law enforcement agencies and elected federal officials as I can to ensure that the gravity of this situation is elevated and prioritized.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery