Administrators balance safety, learning amid string of threats

Recent events make anonymous threats realistic

Emily Hatton, Staff WriterEmily Hatton, staff writer

On Monday alone, four colleges enacted a lockdown or evacuated because of threats on or near campus.

Georgia Gwinnett College remained on lockdown for hours as Lawrenceville police searched for a man they believed killed his wife nearby.

In Boston, Harvard University evacuated four buildings when officials received a bomb threat via email.

Down in Washington, D.C., George Washington University sent an emergency alert to students in the early morning warning students to shelter in place because of a possible active shooter situation in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, in nearby Maryland, Washington College began a lockdown Monday that turned into a full campus evacuation Tuesday because of a reported and ongoing gun threat.

Amid protests, tensions, and anonymous online threats, administrators and police must balance campus safety with the need to actually get students into classrooms to learn.

In the age of mass shootings, what does it mean to protect a college campus?

But while schools have received threats—credible or not—for years, recent events certainly make the possibility that someone will actually act on said threats more believable.

A surge of threats have shown up on the anonymous social media app Yik Yak. Others appear on 4Chan—the same website where a warning was posted before the massacre at Umpqua Community College in October.

And as the news this past week reminds us—with terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, and substantiated threats in Germany—there's reason for administrators to err on the side of caution.

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.

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