EKU interviewing persons of interest for bathroom stall graffiti threat

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) –Eastern Kentucky University Police say they are currently interviewing persons of interest for threatening graffiti found on a bathroom stall earlier this week. Officials say they were identified by tips. EKU has cancelled classes for the rest of the week.

According to a statement by EKU officials, University Police increased campus patrols October 5, after a threatening message was found on a bathroom wall on campus that morning.

In a statement, the school says there is no evidence of imminent danger, but there has been an escalation in the threat, coming from social media. School officials have not released additional details on the social media threat. Meanwhile, all Eastern Kentucky University campuses will cancel classes beginning at 10:00 AM Wednesday and will also close Thursday and Friday. University Housing and Dining Services will remain open, and police presence around the campus will continue to be increased. Some special events may continue as planned with increased security presence.

The EKU Police Department says they are working with other law enforcement agencies to investigate the graffiti incident, including the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, State Police, and local police. The University is also offering a $10,000 reward for the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

Eastern Kentucky University’s football game against Tennessee Tech University, scheduled for Thursday at Roy Kidd Stadium, is being moved to Toyota Stadium at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, Director of Athletics Steve Lochmueller announced on Wednesday.

Below is an official statement from President 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

President
The Division of Public Safety announced on Tuesday morning several safety precautions that community members can use to stay a little safer during this time of heightened awareness.
They encouraged all members of the campus community to follow these basic safety precautions:
• Immediately report suspicious persons loitering around University facilities.
• If you become the victim of a crime, do not try to physically detain or apprehend the criminal. Report the incident immediately to the EKU Police Department at 911 or (859) 622-1111.
• On or off campus, walk/jog/bike in groups of three or more in well-lit and well-traveled areas.
• Scan the area before you exit or approach your vehicle/building and while you proceed between sites.
• Have your key ready in hand to quickly access the door of your vehicle/building.
• If strangers approach, maintain a distance and be observant. If they are in a vehicle, get the license plate number, if possible.
• Lock doors and windows of your room/building. Do not prop open doors or let strangers in.
They also included a links to safety information to further prepare for emergency situations, listed below.
General EKU Emergency Plan
EKU Emergency Management
Action Quick Reference and Sheltering
Registering with the RAVE emergency communication system

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