EKU cancels classes for the rest of the week to further investigate threat found Sunday

By  | 

RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - There have been a lot more police from several agencies across Madison County on Eastern Kentucky University's campus after a threat was found Sunday in a campus bathroom.

EKU canceled classes for the rest of the week to further investigate after EKU Police say someone found a message written on the wall of a men's bathroom inside the Powell Building. The message said, "KILL ALL BY 10/8/15 THIS BU OOP."

Officials issued a public safety alert Wednesday, saying they needed to allow "law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation of the continuing threat and ensure the safety of our campus community."

There were other actions taken for campus safety. The EKU football game against Tennessee Tech is being moved to Georgetown College's Toyota Stadium. EKU Athletic Director Steve Lochmueller said it took some quick work to make that happen. Anyone who had tickets to the game can still get in. Also, Wednesday's performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the EKU Center is canceled. Ticketholders can get refunds. Local police as well as the FBI are still looking into the threat. There have also been rumors of other threats flying on social media. EKU Police said those were unsubstantiated, but of course, those rumors put students even more on edge.

Wednesday afternoon, EKU sent out an alert saying police were interviewing people who'd been identified through tips that came in. An Eastern Kentucky University spokesperson said a $10,000 reward the university offered has brought in some tips about the graffiti threat incident.

EKU said they had increased security after the threat on Monday, but it was even more visible today with police from several agencies patrolling campus. It's also a lot quieter.

It didn't take long after the university canceled classes for the students to pack up and leave. A lot of students spent the morning packing up and going home after classes were canceled this morning. They don't know if this threat is real or a hoax, but they're not taking any chances.

"It really just feels like our education is being held hostage," Student government president Katie Scott said, adding that the administration made the right call when it canceled classes, but it's still a pain. "I just hope that whoever did this knows that we are all very frustrated and you have made a lot of enemies on campus."

They said they're happy to get away from it for a few days.

"At first, I thought it was just a prank so I didn't really care, I thought it was someone just trying to get out of midterms. But now that we see all the stuff and everybody's freaking out I just want to go home," Freshman Emree Whitt said.

This is the second incident EKU has had this year. In February, someone left a threatening message in a bathroom in Combs Hall.

Below is an official statement from EKU President Michael Benson on the decision to cancel classes and close the University.

Dear Campus Community:

When you choose to learn or work at this university, you become part of the EKU family. This week I have asked each of you to look out for each other and work together following a disturbing threat of violence on our campus. My sincere thanks for the solidarity you have demonstrated, and the genuine care and concern many of you have expressed for your fellow Colonels.

To allow law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation of the continuing threat and ensure the safety of our campus community, classes at all EKU campuses were canceled today beginning at 10:00 am; and the University will be closed Thursday, October 8 – Friday, October 9. We will resume full campus operations following Fall Break on Wednesday, October 14.

As we make this adjustment to our operations, I ask for your continued patience and cooperation. I ask employees to complete the workday today to prepare for providing essential campus services the remainder of the week. More information will be forthcoming on employee responsibilities and assignments.

Our primary goals in assessing this situation are limiting any safety risks and avoiding disruption to learning and teaching. While we are confident the responding team of law enforcement agencies has kept a watchful eye over our community and is diligently investigating the threat, it has become clear this incident continues to be unsettling to a number of our students, faculty and staff.

Understandably, this modification to our academic schedule will raise many questions. In addition to our regular communications, we will continue to post updates on campus services and events at http://police.eku.edu/public-safety-alert-updates.

We must continue to look out for each other and strive to create and maintain a safe environment where faculty can teach, staff can serve, and students can learn.

Thank you for your continued diligence. As with challenges in the past, this one will be met and we will move forward – together – in the coming weeks and months.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Benson