Pat Brennan / Senior Lantern reporter
Ohio State University Police issued a public safety notice Sunday at about 7:30 p.m. for a “potential threat of shooting or explosive violence focused on a ‘cafeteria’ or other unspecified area of campus on Monday.”
“We received this late (Saturday) night, and we’ve been investigating ever since,” said Deputy Chief Richard Morman of University Police Sunday evening. “Looks like it came over a proxy server that came into a website.”
The threat originated in a chat site.
“The person in there chatting mentioned the desire to place explosives around campus, now they didn’t say where,” Morman said, although the threat was focused on a “cafeteria.”
Morman made the point that “cafeteria” was an unusual word to use to describe campus dining facilities, and besides that description, location of the threat was not specified.
“That’s their word, ‘cafeteria,’ and it’s not a word that’s usually used around campus,” Morman said. “We will definitely have an increased presence in areas around campus tomorrow.”
There will be an increased police presence around campus dining facilities Monday, and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will aid University Police in these extra security measures.
The notice comes four days after University Police issued a notice for a similar concern.
“Ohio State University Police have been investigating postings to fantasy, role-player game sites which referenced a potential public safety threat of a shooting at OSU,” University Police Chief Paul Denton told The Lantern Wednesday.
The area of concern for that threat was also an unspecified cafeteria. OSU community members received that public safety notice Wednesday just before noon. Security was increased in cafeterias around campus.
University Police are unsure if this threat is related to Wednesday’s, but they will continue to “aggressively investigate,” according to the notice.
“We can’t say without a doubt it was the same person,” Morman said. “There are some similarities.”
Morman said in this case, the threat came in only one chat. Last week, however, the threat was found in “several different” places online.
Denton said Wednesday that University Police received information Tuesday about potential threats being made across multiple fantasy game websites, and “immediately initiated an investigation.”
He said it was initially unclear whether threats toward “OSU” referenced Ohio State, until receiving more information Tuesday “just before midnight” from a chat room moderator on one of those websites.
“We felt it important to notify the university community to heighten awareness and to stress the importance of ‘if you see something, say something,’ and report suspicious activities or individuals to the appropriate authorities,” Denton said Wednesday.