Less than a week after a mass shooter at a community college in Umpqua, Ore., killed nine people, Philadelphia-area schools are on alert because of “threatened violence” Monday.
The warning came in an e-mail from the FBI to some schools, including Temple University and Drexel University.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the FBI Philadelphia Field Office notified local colleges and universities of a social media posting which threatened violence at a Philadelphia-area college or university for Monday, October 5,” the e-mail read. “No specific college or university was identified in the posting. We encourage students, faculty, and employees at area colleges and universities to follow the guidance of their campus security officials. The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to investigate threats of violence, and, as always, we ask the public to report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
“The first of our kind has struck fear into the hearts of America,” the post read, referencing the “Beta Rebellion.” “His cries have been heard, even by the President.”
It continued: “On October 5, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. 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.”
A law enforcement source who asked not to be identified because the source is involved in the investigation confirmed the threat was linked to the “Beta Rebellion” 4chan post.
In the Philadelphia area, home to dozens of institutions of higher education, many planned to stay open — but were taking precautions.
“I am sure many of you have safety concerns, and I wanted to let you know that we hear you,” Charles J. Leone, the executive director of campus safety services at Temple University, wrote in a statement. “I also want to emphasize that we have received no information that there is a specific threat here at Temple. At the same time, we have already taken actions to increase the security presence throughout the university tonight and tomorrow.”
Drexel’s statement referenced the shooting in Umpqua.
“Since the shooting last week at a community college in Oregon, the FBI has seen similar social media postings throughout the country,” the university wrote in a statement. “Although the FBI has assured us there is no specific threat to a particular college or university, we are taking this very seriously and are taking extra precautions to protect the Drexel community.”
“Just because all of the recent things have been going on, it’s just scary to think it’s possibly going to happen on our campus,” Mackenzie Leedy, a student at Drexel, told WPVI. “So I’m scared to actually leave my dorm tomorrow.”
At the University of Pennsylvania, which also advised of the threat, students called for classes to be canceled.
“I can’t understand why we still have class tomorrow,” one student tweeted. “Cancelling class is such a small consequence when you consider the huge risk.”