University cancels classes and activities after online threat

FBI officials alerted the University to an online threat of gun violence Sunday.

By Sarah Manhardt

Update 11/30/15 4:50 PM: Classes and activities will resume as scheduled on Tuesday, according to an email from President Zimmer to the University community. University facilities–including dining, residential halls, libraries, and others–will be open, as well as lab and charter schools. Per the email, the FBI’s investigation has concluded after a suspect was arrested and charged this afternoon. There will be an additional security presence across campus through the end of the Autumn Quarter.

Update 11/30/15 3:15 PM: Jabari R. Dean was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Dean, 21, is a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) student. He allegedly admitted to posting the threat.

Update 11/30/15 1:35 PM: Investigators found no guns in the off-campus apartment of the UIC student in custody, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Update 11/30/15 1:03: President Zimmer sent an email to the University community confirming that the FBI has detained an individual in connection with yesterday’s threat of gun violence. Classes and activities will remain canceled for Monday. Further information to come.

Update 11/30/15 1:01 PM: The online threat was posted to and threatened to “execute approximately 16 white male students and or staff” in response to the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald last year by a white CPD officer, according to a CPD report obtained by the Chicago Tribune. The threat was posted in response to a movie clip from “Panther,” and was reported to the FBI on Sunday morning. It read: “This is my only warning. At 10AM Monday morning, I’m going to the campus quad of the University of Chicago. I will be armed with an M-4 carbine and two desert eagles, all fully loaded. I will execute approximately 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time McDonald was killed. I will then die killing any number of white policeman in the process. This is not a joke. I am to do my part and rid the world of white devils. I expect you do the same.” The poster signed the post with the initials JRD and a Chicago Bulls logo, according to the police report.

Update 11/30/15 12:32: A University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) student has been arrested in an investigation of threats made against students and staff at the University of Chicago, according to UIC’s Office of Public and Government Affairs. UIC has increased patrols on its campus, although no threats were made against UIC students, faculty, or staff.

Classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus scheduled for Monday were canceled following a reported online threat of gun violence, according to an e-mail from University President Robert J. Zimmer.

The threat, posted by an unknown individual online, specifically referenced “the campus quad” on Monday morning at 10 a.m., according to the email. There will be a heightened police presence on campus. The University is working with the FBI, which is investigating the threat.

“Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday,” Zimmer wrote in the e-mail that was sent Sunday evening.

In addition, campus facilities, libraries, gyms, cafes, the University Bookstore, the Charter School campuses, and Laboratory schools will be closed on Monday.

The University requested that all non-medical students, faculty, and non-essential staff avoid the University campus or stay indoors if on campus. Students in dormitories were told to wait for information from Housing Staff. The University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) will remain open to patients with extra security measures. The email asked that staff in the Medical Center who are not involved in patient care nor working in the emergency room remain at home. Student Health and Counseling will be closed, and students experiencing emergencies, whether psychiatric or medical, are directed to the UCMC emergency room.

According to an e-mail sent by Jennifer Luttig-Komrosky, there will be extra security staff outside dormitories and dining halls. On Monday, Cathey Dining Commons will be open and Bartlett Dining Commons and all campus cafes will be closed.

Medici and Z&H Market Cafe will both be open, though Z&H will close early. Noodles etc. is “not 100%” on whether it will be open tomorrow.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story.