NIU: Anonymous email included threats, requests for police presence seeking attention

Heavy police presence on campus was prompted by threat to NIU College of Business; threats not credible, officials say

Northern Illinois University Police cars sit outside Barsema Hall Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, after the NIU College of Business received an unverified anonymous email indicating there would be an act of violence committed there today. NIU police Chief Darren Mitchell said as of 10:30 a.m., authorities do not believe the threats to be credible, though the investigation remains ongoing.

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University officials said police have determined threats of mass violence were not credible Monday after an anonymous email sent to faculty that included requests for a “large police presence in hopes of gaining international news” attention.

NIU police alerted campus to the unverified threats to Barsema Hall on Garden Road about 7:58 a.m. Monday. The DeKalb campus was not evacuated and classes remained ongoing as normal.

NIU police Chief Darren Mitchell said as of 10:30 a.m., authorities do not believe the threats to be credible, though the investigation remains ongoing until a final update at 11:25 a.m. Monday. The investigation was conducted with help from state and federal authorities, including the Illinois State Police, Mitchell said.

“Our top priority remains the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Mitchell said as he stood outside Barsema Hall with multiple other NIU police officers.

Another university outside of Illinois received an identical email threat Monday, according to an update posted by NIU at 9:10 a.m. Mitchell said an Ivy League university also received a similar threat a week ago.

A heavy police presence was reported outside Barsema Hall about 7:45 a.m., which tapered off throughout the morning.

Faculty and staff of the NIU College of Business, which resides in Barsema Hall, received an anonymous email Monday morning indicating there would be “an act of violence committed today,” NIU officials wrote.

Mitchell said several people within the College of Business received the same threatening email. He said university leadership and police gave faculty the option of holding classes in person or remotely.

According to an initial alert published by NIU police, the message had included threats of an active shooter and bomb.

“Be prepared to take additional safety precautions and report any suspicious devices or persons you see by calling 911. Do not touch any suspicious backpacks, boxes, etc,” according to the initial alert.

NIU officials said emergency authorities responded out of an abundance of caution.

“NIU takes any form of threat seriously and is currently investigating,” officials wrote in a mid-morning update. “Within the past year, multiple other universities across the nation have received similar emails from anonymous sources hoping to draw a SWAT team response, cause disruption and strike fear.”

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