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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Authorities investigate unfounded threats against NIU, Kent State

Sean Reed
Two NIU Police officers enter doors to investigate an unverified bomb threat and shooter threat at 8:33 a.m. Barsema Hall, home to NIU’s College of Business was the target of the anonymous threat. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 3 p.m. Monday to include additional information on the ongoing investigation.

DeKALB – After investigation from NIU Police, with support from Illinois and federal authorities, the university determined the unverified bomb and active shooter threat received this morning, targeting Barsema Hall, is not credible.

“Although the officers are on scene, we have determined that there’s no threat to our campus community. So even though the officers are there, that doesn’t mean that they’re there because we believe that there’s a threat,” NIU Chief of Police Darren Mitchell said.

According to Mitchell, the threat was a hoax, or an attempted swatting with the goal of attracting a large police presence.

“Although we determined that it is a hoax and there was no threat to our community, it’s still a crime and we are actively investigating in order to identify the person that’s responsible and hopefully, hold them accountable,” Mitchell said.

An update from the university police was issued at 11:25 a.m. Monday.

Three NIU Police officers exit their vehicles Monday, heading toward the west entrance of Barsema Hall. Officers are investigating the non-credible bomb and shooting threat made against NIU early in the morning Monday. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

“Additional colleges and universities have reported receiving similar messages today and within the past week. All classes and campus activities can proceed as scheduled,” according to the update.

An official announcement addressing the threat, issued at 9:10 a.m. Monday to students and faculty, stated another university outside of Illinois received an identical message today. Mitchell confirmed that Kent State was the other recipient of the emailed threats.

“Faculty and staff of NIU’s College of Business received an anonymous email this morning indicating there would be an act of violence committed today, where the emailer requested a large police response in hopes of gaining international news,” according to the announcement.

Police did not call for students or faculty to evacuate Barsema Hall, but asked students to be prepared to take additional safety precautions.

“Do not touch any suspicious backpacks, boxes, etc.,” according to a safety alert sent to students just before 8 a.m. Monday.

Two NIU Police officers open the door to an office to investigate an unverified threat Monday on the second floor of Barsema Hall. Officers were on scene to investigate the unverified threat, which was made to another university outside of Illinois today, according to a safety alert sent to NIU students and faculty. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

On the scene, officers searched offices and classrooms throughout the building as faculty and students arrived for classes.

Among those to arrive was Interim Dean for the College of Business, Denise Schoenbachler, who greeted students and faculty at 8:40 a.m. as she arrived.

“Well, we know that Kent State received a similar threat and we also found out that Dartmouth received a hoax of this nature last week,” said Mitchell.

On Friday, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and a number of other universities received emails containing threats of violence against students and faculty. Each of the threats were deemed to be a hoax.

Queens College and York College closed their campuses, in favor of remote learning, Thursday due to bomb threats, according to the Knight News.

Classes remain as scheduled unless faculty decide to cancel their own classes, according to NIU’s announcement.

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