University of Winnipeg on high alert after threat
Published Friday, September 21, 2007 12:23PM EDT
Students at the University of Winnipeg will be sharing the halls with police and security guards today after a threat was scrawled on a men's bathroom wall in the school.
CTV Winnipeg has learned the message threatened to "shoot up this place on Sept. 26."
University of Winnipeg spokesperson Dan Hurley told CTV Newsnet Friday that the university is taking no chances and is doing all it can to warn students about the threat. It's sending out emails, leaflets, and media reports to get the word out that the campus community needs to be vigilant.
"Certainly in this day and age and certainly with recent incidents on campuses in North America we wanted to take this very seriously and make people aware of it," says Hurley.
On its website, the university confirmed the message warned of an occurrence on the morning of Sept. 26.
The statement from President and Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy said the university is working closely with the Winnipeg Police Service, security has been boosted and an investigation is underway by the Major Crimes Unit.
The school has remained open, but security was tightened at the downtown campus and students were urged to keep their identification handy.
"First let me say that the safety and security of students, faculty and staff is the number one priority of the university," Axworthy, a former Liberal foreign affairs minister, said in a statement.
"The university has taken the responsible and appropriate approach by disclosing to our community a warning message found written on a wall of one of our washroom facilities."
The statement said a student reported seeing the message on Sept. 19 and it was immediately reported to Winnipeg police who sealed off the bathroom and examined the scene.
Police have not yet determined whether it is simply graffiti or a more serious threat.
A search has been conducted of all other bathrooms at the university. No other messages were discovered.
The university has about 10,000 full- and part-time students.
Axworthy said Thursday that universities have been increasingly targeted, following tragedies like those at Virginia Tech and Dawson College.
He also said the university has experienced similar threats in the past, but none have been this personal.