Threat creates concerns about safety among students

The second-floor men’s bathroom in Collier Library remains closed as a police investigation continues regarding a threat made on the wall Sept. 26. UNA Police Chief Bob Pastula said extra safety precautions are being taken across campus. No decision has been made about closing or locking down the university Oct. 9, said Interim University President John Thornell.

A threat written in the Collier Library second-floor men’s bathroom is forcing students to consider whether they will come to campus Oct. 9.

The threat stated four people would die Oct. 9, 2014, said UNA Police Chief Bob Pastula.

He said the threat was made Sept. 26 and reported to the police department by library staff later that day.

“It could just be someone trying to scare people — just a threat,” said student Jordan Thames. “I honestly did think ‘oh my gosh, I don’t need to be on campus that day.’”

A second drawing in the A Elevator in the parking deck included the name Mike Brown, the date Oct. 9 and the letters ‘R.I.P.’

A decision to cancel classes, or to close or lock down campus is pending, said Interim University President John Thornell.

“We’ve had some preliminary research, but a decision has not been made,” Thornell said. “One problem is canceling classes doesn’t remove the threat because students will still be on campus.”

To ensure campus safety, the police department doubled the number of officers on duty to patrol campus, including areas near the residence halls and apartments, Pastula said.

“I’ve tried to pass the message to faculty and ask them to pass it on to their students, just to be a little more aware of what your surroundings are and (to) be careful what you’re doing,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure everybody is watching after everybody else.”

Sophomore Kennan Moses said the increased security makes him feel “a little safer,” but it is not enough to keep him on campus Oct. 9.

“Since it’s right before fall break, I’m going to go home,” Moses said. “I’m not taking any chances that day. You never know what they could do or when or where it could happen.”

Thanks to responses from the campus community, the department has a few leads to identifying the person who made the threat, Pastula said.

“We take all threats seriously,” he said. “We’re treating it as a terrorist threat.”

Because the library second floor and the parking deck do not have security cameras, all information about the case comes from eyewitness accounts, people talking about things they have seen, suspicious activity on campus and the handwriting on the wall, he said.

“What we need to accomplish is getting everybody to phone in any suspicious activity,” he said.