Students at the University of Michigan (UM) Ford School of Public Policy are demanding action to ensure their safety against a recent campus shooting threat targeting women.
Michigan Daily reported that more than 1,200 students have signed an online petition to convince school administrators to cancel classes Monday or allow temporary remote learning until the threat is resolved. An email was sent to Public Policy Dean Michael Barr expressing students’ discomfort with going to campus.
“While we understand that the University does not take this threat lightly, they have yet to make an effort to fully inform students on how they plan to address this threat and how they are going to protect women on our campus. We feel it is best to allow students to make their own personal decision on whether or not to attend in-person classes on Monday, as per our request stated above,” read the email.
Barr responded, confirming that faculty are encouraged to be flexible with class attendance requirements. However, as the individual responsible for the threat has been found by authorities, University President Mark Schlissel explained to the UM community that classes would continue as scheduled on Monday.
“What we know today from the FBI is that the threat has been mitigated, and there is no current or pending threat based on the post,” Schlissel wrote.
The UM community became alarmed after an individual posted threats against female students on the Russian online platform Sinn List, threatening to shoot them on October 4.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UM Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) identified the individual Saturday and was immediately questioned, but there has been no announcement of an arrest.
DPSS disclosed that it would increase the number of staff on campus and implement safety procedures to prepare for Monday. Some professors have moved their courses online but many have not. Furthermore, the school hasn’t released an official mandate authorizing these measures.
“We worry the administration has let its eagerness to re-open in-person classes overtake its responsibility for keeping the campus community safe and alive,” the petition reads.
“Contradicting the University’s professed commitment to ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion,’ the administration has downplayed a gendered threat. By allowing in-person activities and classes, the University has effectively granted individual instructors and supervisors the power to determine whether their students and workers must place themselves in danger,” the petition added.