Potential Security Threat to Campus Causes Panic

Rumor of student bringing firearms to campus ends in complaints


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

An active shooter threat was brought to the attention of the UW-Platteville main campus on Monday, April 3. After an investigation launched by campus police, any threat to students and staff was alleviated.

Word-of-mouth rumors regarding the threat spread among students on Monday night. Around 7 p.m. students from UW-Platteville began talking about the alleged threat on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app. “Everyone needs to be aware of what’s going on with tomorrow! Stay alert and stay safe! I don’t understand why campus has not sent a mass email about this when this is something to not joke about!” one user said.

The rumors sparked a response from UW- Platteville Communications about two hours later. The email sent by Chief Communications Officer Paul Erickson explained how the university was taking the necessary steps to understand the validity of the threat, further detailing that “the University Police, the Dean of Students, the Behavioral Review and Recommendation Team and other officials” were all looking at the threat. The email closed by stating that Tuesday classes were not to be canceled.

Explicit details of the threat were not exposed to the public, only that the building targeted was Doudna Hall and the threat was made on Snapchat. 

The next email sent by the UW-Platteville Communications Department was not until 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, explaining that there was no longer a threat to the main campus. “As this process unfolded, we understand why there has been a high level of uncertainty and concern among our faculty, staff and students. Therefore, we ask that you use your own judgment and consider your personal comfort level before deciding to attend classes, work or activities on campus,” the email read.

Multiple professors canceled classes or moved them to Zoom for Tuesday.

Later that morning, another Communications Department email was sent addressing the “copycat threats” that were being made against the main campus. Erickson ended the email by stating, “For those who are posting copycat messages, be aware that you will face legal actions.”

The final message sent about the threat to campus was made by Interim Chancellor Tammy Evetovich, reporting that, “there is nothing to indicate imminent harm to our community at present.”

She addressed the complaints that students, faculty and families have made about the slow communication process from the university. “We acknowledge the pace did not allow the communications from our end to be as timely as some may have wanted, and I respect those who may feel that way.”

Parents of main campus students have commented about the university’s delayed communication and the limited information. Mark Schultz commented about the incident on Facebook, stating, “Threat not resolved, but classes are still on … UW-Platteville has a history of not caring about parents, students and athletes’ concerns. This is extremely sad/scary but not surprising at all, unfortunately.”

Students have also felt disappointed about how the communication from UW-Platteville was handled. “The situation regarding the threat was handled in a very delayed manner. I felt as though I was being
informed of things unfolding after
the fact, especially the copycat threats. The email that went out regarding these messages sent a lot of people into a panic after we had finally begun to calm down,” an anonymous UW-Platteville student commented. “Continued, timely updates on the happenings would have been a much better way to go about communicating and avoiding panic.”

No other emails or updates about the person who made the threats have been released to the public.