University of Chicago cancels classes after FBI warns of gun threat

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FBI counterterrorism officials alerted the school on Sunday that “an unknown individual posted an online threat of gun violence against the University of Chicago. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

The University of Chicago has canceled all classes and activities on its Hyde Park campus Monday after the FBI alerted it to an online threat of gun violence, according to a campus statement.

University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer wrote that the university “will have an increased police and security presence on and around campus, including police personnel with visible weapons and other additional measures.”

“University security personnel are keeping in close contact with the FBI, which is continuing to investigate the threat,” Zimmer wrote.

Responding to a request for comment from the Chicago Sun-Times, FBI Special Agent John Hyde wrote in a statement: “Upon learning of a possible threat, we shared information with law enforcement and University officials, as is our practice. The decision to cancel classes was made by the University. Our investigation to determine the source of the online threat is ongoing.”

FBI counterterrorism officials alerted the school Sunday that “an unknown individual posted an online threat of gun violence against the University of Chicago, specifically mentioning ‘the campus quad’ on Monday morning at 10 a.m.,” according to the statement.

Zimmer wrote that the university canceled classes “based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country.”

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the university libraries, the Quadrangle Club and other campus facilities will also be closed Monday. The University of Chicago Medical Center will remain open to patients with added security measures, Zimmer wrote. Students were told to consult csl.uchicago.edu for additional information.

“All University staff and faculty members who do not have emergency duties or patient care responsibilities are encouraged to avoid coming to the Hyde Park campus on Monday,” Zimmer wrote.

Anyone who sees anything unusual or “has urgent questions about security measures” is asked to contact the University of Chicago Police Department at 773-702-8181.

On Sunday night, Northwestern University posted a statement on its website telling the NU community that there were no reports of threats against the school. NU’s campuses in Chicago and Evanston will be open on Monday. The statement also said: “University Police will have an enhanced police and security presence on both the Chicago and Evanston campuses.”

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