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NIU determines bomb and shooter threat at Barsema Hall 'not credible'

Barsema Hall
Barsema Hall

Northern Illinois University has determined that a threat of a bomb and an active shooter at Barsema Hall emailed to its School of Business on Monday morning was "not credible." NIU had announced just before 8:00 a.m. that it was investigating an unverified threat on its DeKalb campus at Barsema Hall.

In an update posted at 11:25 a.m., NIU Police and Public Safety stated that, "with support from state and federal authorities, [it] has determined that the threat received this morning is not credible."

It added that "additional colleges and universities have reported receiving similar messages today [Monday] and within the past week."

According to the earlier announcement, "Faculty and staff of NIU’s College of Business received an anonymous email this [Monday] morning indicating there would be an act of violence committed today [Monday], where the emailer requested a large police response in hopes of gaining international news."

NIU also stated in that earlier announcement that it knew of at least one other university outside of Illinois that had "received the exact same message today [Monday]."

The school said to expect a large police presence at Barsema as it investigated the unverified threat, but otherwise the day was to proceed normally.

NIU then stated that classes would remain as scheduled on Monday "unless otherwise indicated by faculty."

NIU Police said no evacuation was mandated but did advise people to be alert and to report any suspicious items or activity by calling 911.

The university said it encouraged all students and employees to "take care during this stressful situation" and to "utilize resources such as the Center for Student Assistance, Counseling and Consultation Services or the Employee Well-being program."

Similar incidents of "swatting" (phony threats of violence meant to elicit an armed police response) have plagued schools, churches, hospitals and other institutions, as well as individuals, in recent years.