An anonymous threat against residents of an all-female dorm and members of Greek life at the University of Alabama prompted a partial lockdown on campus Sunday night.
Students living at Tutwiler Hall, a women's residence hall at the Tuscaloosa campus, and members of the university's Greek system received a copy of the threat in email from a person using the pseudonym "Authur Pendragon," according to the Crimson White.
The threat had originally been posted on YouTube over the weekend, the university said Monday. The school has not determined if it was a credible threat but is taking it seriously.
University of Alabama police received reports of armed individuals at Tutwiler, prompting them to lockdown the dorm and conduct a search, though no weapons or suspicious persons were found, AL.com reported. According to a statement from UA President Judy Bonner, posted on the university's website Monday, the lockdown and search took about 45 minutes.
The Associated Press reports:
The university says a parent notified a police agency about possible gunmen after hearing from a daughter who saw social media posts and heard it from fellow students. That agency contacted university police, prompting the search.
Sorority members were also told to stay inside their homes by police patrolling the area, the Crimson White noted.
UA rep says the lockdown was prompted by rumors/social media posts, not any specific eyewitness accounts
— Melissa Brown (@itsmelissabrown) September 22, 2014
Tutwiler Hall, an all-girls dorm, is currently surrounded by UAPD. pic.twitter.com/a3L0teKu3k
— CW Photography (@TheCWPhotos) September 22, 2014
AL.com reported campus police gave the all-clear around 11:50 p.m. Sunday.
The student newspaper, the Crimson White, published the full text of the threat allegedly sent to Tutwiler residents and Greek members, which warned the "day of retribution" was near.
The threat said in part:
I have seen minorities suffer at the hands of those who think they are superior. This is my first message and I shall not say much. Take this the way you want; as a threat or whatever. All I know is that it will be a day when all that look at minorities with discussed shall remember. After this day, you shall appreciate every minority who walks on that campus.
The person warned, "I’ll be watching all frat parties and monitoring all of your events." There is no confirmation yet on who may have sent it.
The University of Alabama was embroiled in a controversy last fall when the Crimson White revealed mostly white sororities were still discriminating against black women, largely due to alumnae influence.
There was still some controversy stemming from the segregation in the spring semester and into the fall season, though there has also been considerable signs of progress. Black women were allowed to join sororities this year.
Tim Summerlin, UA Chief of Police, said in a statement to students, which was provided to The Huffington Post by the university, the threat was originally posted on YouTube:
Many of you know that an alarming comment was posted on a YouTube recruitment video over the weekend. While we have no credible information at this point to determine whether this is a legitimate threat, The University of Alabama is taking this situation very seriously. Posting a terrorist threat is a crime and will be treated as such. UAPD is aggressively investigating to identify the individual(s) involved. Among other things, we have requested search warrants and are consulting with the FBI.
This comment appears to have been the catalyst for the incident last night at Tutwiler. And the ongoing social media conversation continues to fuel rumors and speculation and generate additional inaccuracies.
Read the full statement from UA President Judy Bonner, sent to students Monday morning:
Last night, The University of Alabama received an unconfirmed report of armed individuals in the vicinity of Tutwiler. The information was sent to UAPD from an external law enforcement agency who had been contacted by a parent whose daughter had heard it from multiple other students who had seen social media posts. No eye-witness or first-hand knowledge of the alleged threat was reported to UAPD or any law enforcement agency.
UAPD responded to Tutwiler within 1 minute of receiving the information, and promptly confirmed that reports of armed individuals were not accurate. However, in an abundance of caution, UAPD conducted a thorough search of Tutwiler. Residents of Tutwiler were asked to stay in their rooms while the search was conducted. Due to the size of Tutwiler and the thoroughness of the officers’ search, this process took about 45 minutes. No weapons or unauthorized individuals were found in Tutwiler or in the vicinity. Students were never in danger.
I can assure you that UA will always respond quickly and notify the campus community when you need to take immediate action. In this case, no one was in danger and immediate action was not required.
We understand that the time it took to be cautious was concerning to students and their parents, faculty and staff, and I want to reiterate that we will always put your safety and security first. UAPD will continue to investigate the situation.