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Fla. Campus Tense After Bombing

September 23, 1999

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Two apparently racist pipe bombings at predominantly black Florida A&M University have spread fear on campus and prompted school administrators to add security cameras and dozens of uniformed police officers.

Classes were mostly full and students milled about the quadrangle Thursday, one day after the second pipe bomb exploded. Despite the security measures, many were uneasy.

``Telling a freshman to not be afraid as they lay their head down for the night is something I can’t see,″ said Nekeisha Briggs, a senior from New York City.

Neither pipe bomb caused significant damage but an anonymous call to a Tallahassee television station threatening that the blast was ``just the beginning″ has many fearing that a racist serial bomber is on the loose.

``It’s playing with the very life of our university,″ said Frederick Humphries, president of the 12,000-student school.

Investigators wouldn’t say Thursday if they have any suspects or even if the two bombings are connected, but they acknowledged similarities between the Aug. 31 explosion in an administration building restroom and Wednesday’s explosion in the restroom in a classroom building.

In the first explosion, a caller used racial slurs and indicated he wanted to ``get rid of″ some of the people at Florida A&M. On Wednesday, a caller told ABC affiliate WTXL-TV that students at Florida A&M didn’t need a university and that the explosion was ``just the beginning, brother.″

Authorities said anonymous calls were made about the time of both explosions and both pipe bombs were small. A $16,000 award was offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

To prevent further problems, the school announced Thursday it was adding a system of surveillance cameras and had hired an outside security firm. It also is adding 50 uniformed police officers from the city and county to its campus patrol.

While administrators tried to calm worried parents, Derrick Heck, the student government vice president, urged students not to succumb to threats.

``Let them know that our education cannot be stopped,″ Heck told fellow students from the university’s library steps Wednesday evening.

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