Gun threat at University of Chicago passes without incident

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2015 12:01 PM

(Reuters) - An online threat of gun violence at the University of Chicago did not materialize on Monday morning as feared, but worries of an attack led the school to cancels classes for the day.

An FBI official said on Monday that the agency was investigating the threat.

On Sunday afternoon, the university canceled Monday classes and activities after being warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that someone had made an online threat of gun violence on campus.

FBI counterterrorism officials said the threat, by an unknown person, made specific reference to 10 a.m. local time and the quad on the university's Hyde Park campus, university President Robert Zimmer said on the school's website.

As of 10:30 a.m. local time, no incident had been reported.

Students, non-essential staff and non-medical faculty were advised to stay away from campus through midnight Monday. Students in college housing were asked to stay indoors.

Zimmer cited "recent tragic events on campuses across the country" in the decision. College campuses have been the sites of several shootings this year, including an Oct. 1 massacre at Umpqua Community College in Oregon that left 10 dead including the shooter.

The University of Chicago, a private school with about 15,000 graduate and undergraduate students, is south of downtown Chicago.

While the medical school was closed, the school said on Sunday, the medical center would remain open to patients with added security measures. The cancellation also affected the law school.

Many students on Facebook and Twitter praised the school for taking the precaution of closing the campus, while a few speculated someone simply wanted to get out of class.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Ben Klayman and Steve Orlofsky)