How seriously did South Jersey schools take ‘threat of violence?’
As south Jersey students were warned of a potential threat to their safety this weekend — just days after a school shooting left several people in Oregon dead — confusion and concern made their way through campus communities.
Rowan Student Government President Anthony Wohlrab in an email to students during the day on Monday wrote that "no one's safety is more important than taking a test, going to class, or even leaving your room." He cited school policy allowing students who feel unsafe to stay away from class without penalty. "If for some reason your professor gives you a hard time please reach out to me immediately and we will work it out. The SGA will not tolerate anyone’s grades suffering because of this situation."
Despite that, classes remained in session at southern New Jersey schools, including Rowan.
"The administration has made it up to your discretion, however some are still confused. If you have an exam, or an assignment due, simply email your professor and explain that you are feeling unsafe," he said in the schools' message.
That policy was similar to others at several schools, as Rowan University, Rutgers-Camden, Rider University, Stockton University, Mercer County College and The College of New Jersey all sought to balance student safety with pragmatism in response to an unspecified "threat of violence" at an unspecified Philadelphia-area school.
"Stockton University Police have notified all local and county law enforcement partners and will increase vehicular and foot patrol throughout campus," read that school's message — also typical of alerts sent to students at area colleges and universities.
The FBI said the message indicates an attack to be carried out Monday but does not mention a specific college or university. The FBI also it notified schools of the threat "out of an abundance of caution."
The threat was reportedly posted on 4chan.org — the same site the shooter in the Oregon killing may have used.
"This is only the beginning, . . . " the threat said. "On October 5, 2015 at 1:00 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."
Many students took to Twitter Sunday and Monday — some saying the schools took the threat too lightly.