On October 1, Chris Harper-Mercer, a student at Umpqua Community College killed nine of his classmates and himself in a school shooting. As many as twenty others were injured.
On the previous day an anonymous and fairly ambiguous threat had been posted to the imageboard “4chan.”
Because of the anonymity of the post, it is difficult to trace the source, which caused some dispute over whether the author of the post was Harper-Mercer or not.
At 5:19 pm on September 30, the anonymous source wrote:
“Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest.
happening thread will be posted tomorrow morning
so long space robots”
Many threats have been posted around the Internet, especially to 4chan.
One in particular was a notice to students in the Philadelphia area and an excerpt reads:
“The first of our kind has struck fear into the hearts of America. His cries have been heard, even by the President. This is only the beginning. The Beta Rebellion has begun. Soon, more of our brothers will take up arms to become martyrs to this revolution. On October 5, 2015 at 1 pm CT, a fellow robot will take up arms against a university near Philadelphia. His cries will be heard, his victims will cower in fear, and the strength of the Union will decay a little more. If you are in that area, you are encouraged to stay at home and watch the news as the chaos unfolds. His sacrifice will echo throughout the nation.”
This post caused alarm in Philadelphia residents, considering the similar threat directed toward the Oregon schools.
This caused many of the area schools’ administrators to advise the students against attending classes on October 5.
Although the threat did not play out, universities have been very cautious and attentive to social media.
While none of the more recent threats have been carried out, the number of recent violent threats is large.
Regarding the University of Tulsa’s response to threats of this nature, Mona Chamberlin of University Relations laid out the details of the extensive training that TU’s security officers undertake.
TU’s Office of Campus Security conducts comprehensive training for officers as soon as they are hired and then follows up with regular training, on its own and with the Tulsa Police Department, including responses to an active threat on or near campus.
The university utilizes an emergency notification system in which the campus community can be alerted as needed via text and social media.
Also, both Campus Security and University Relations actively monitor social media for potential threats, and all tips are investigated promptly.