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Threat to UNCA over BLM mural probed
Friday, 16 October 2020 22:27

From Staff Reports 

An order to shelter in place at UNC Asheville was lifted about 7 p.m. Oct. 9, school officials said.

The order came after a direct threat — demanding that the Black Lives Matter mural on University Heights on campus is painted over, or else — was made by email to members of the UNCA community overnight Oct. 8. 

As a precaution, there were no in-person classes, practices or activities on campus Oct. 9. 

All residential students were told to shelter in place, and all non-essential personnel were told to return home.

During the night of Oct. 8, several offices at the university received an email communicating a direct threat to members of the UNCA community. 

A decision was made to send a Bulldog Alert to all faculty, staff and students to shelter in place until further notice. Employees, other than essential personnel, were asked stay away from campus Oct. 9.

The following is a statement released by the UNCA Chancellor Nancy J. Cable’s office early in the lockdown: 

“The school confirms that as of 10 a.m. (Oct. 9) the campus remains in lockdown. Anyone on campus is asked to remain sheltered in place until further notice. Students in need of support may contact Health and Counseling Services at 828-251-6520.

“While all mandatory meetings, classes, university-scheduled conversations and forums are canceled, including those to be conducted virtually, we support any optional one on one or small group virtual connections that folks want to have to support one another.

“(UNCA police) Chief Eric Boyce and the EoC are working with senior staff and state and local authorities. Please discontinue any and all in-person and virtual classes, practices and activities throughout Friday (Oct.. 9).”

Meanwhile, out of an abundance of precaution, four Asheville City School campuses also were placed on a perimeter lockdown Oct. 9 due to UNCA’s shelter in place order. The four schools iuncluded Claxton Elementary School, Ira B. Jones Elementary School, Isaac Dickson Elementary School and Montford North Star Academy.

Meanwhile, Asheville television station WLOS (News 13) reported Oct. 11 that  “Asheville police, the SBI and FBI are all collaborating on a cyber investigation into whoever is responsible for a threatening email that shutdown UNC Asheville for most of the day on Oct. 9.”

News 13 added, “Cyber expert John Bumgarner says he thinks the person who emailed the threat is likely someone not sophisticated, which will bode well for police quickly identifying the individual.

“Bumgarner said law enforcement will likely be able to immediately access the IP address,” News 13 reported.

Concurrently, UNCA’s Facebook page stated at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 10:

“The university has resumed normal operations, and will maintain an increased law enforcement presence throughout the coming days. Campus facilities and buildings are open and operating with all COVID-19 virus mitigation and health protocols in place. 

“The investigation related to the communication we received remains ongoing with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and we will provide updates as additional information is available and appropriate to share. All official updates on the situation can be found at bulldogalert.unca.edu.”


 



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