University of Chicago officials announced on Sunday evening that all classes on the Hyde Park Campus have been cancelled for Monday after FBI counterterrorism officials discovered an online threat of gun violence against the university. Students residing on campus are asked to remain indoors as much as possible.
On the University of Chicago official website, it says that an unknown individual specifically mentioned “the campus quad” on Monday morning at 10 a.m. The decision to cancel all classes on Monday was based on the FBI’s assessment of the threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country. The University of Chicago’s Campus police announced plans to increase police and security presence on and around campus on Monday– including police personnel with visible weapons and other additional security measures.
Ultimately, universities and schools across the country work together with state and local law enforcement agencies on security protocol for violence such as active shooter or bomb threats. On November 3, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill police were made aware of an similar anonymous online threat against the campus community. UNC officials sent out an email to all staff and students that said the threat was taken very seriously, but the campus would remain open while taking appropriate measures to keep the public safe. When no violence took place, the threat was likely a hoax.
In an unprecedented move, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) issued a warning to Philadelphia area colleges and universities to be on “high alert” after the discovery of an online threat of violence made against a campus for Monday, October 5, at some point in the afternoon. The joint FBI/ATF bulletin was issued just three days after a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon that killed nine people and wounded several others. In September, a professor was shot dead in his office on the campus of Delta State University in Mississippi.
Following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Justice implemented a plan based on the “lessons learned” and has since reached out to federal state, local and campus law enforcement agencies to offer training including active shooter exercises to educators. The efforts to protect students have fallen short as lawmakers continue to struggle with how to grapple with the spike in school shootings across the country.