FBI, ATF Issue Safety Warning to Philadelphia Area Colleges and Universities

Students at Philadelphia area colleges and universities were told to be alert Monday after a nonspecific threat of violence was made online.

The FBI and the ATF issued an alert to all Philadelphia area colleges and universities because of the threat of a 2 p.m. attack. The FBI released the following statement:

Out of an abundance of caution, the FBI Philadelphia Field Office notified local colleges and universities of a social media posting which threatened violence at a Philadelphia-area college or university for Monday, October 5. 

No specific college or university was identified in the posting. We encourage students, faculty, and employees at area colleges and universities to follow the guidance of their campus security officials. 

Colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region were put on alert Monday morning after a threatening post on social media was found. NBC10’s Matt DeLucia has more details about this threat and what schools are doing about it.

The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to investigate threats of violence, and, as always, we ask the public to report suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Drexel University alerted their students and staff of the threat in a post on their Public Safety page.

"Although the FBI has assured us there is no specific threat to a particular college or university, we are taking this very seriously and are taking extra precautions to protect the Drexel community," a Drexel University official wrote.

An online threat against Philadelphia area colleges and universities prompted a warning from the FBI and ATF. NBC10’s Doug Shimell speaks to local students who are on edge in the wake of the deadly shooting at an Oregon community college.

The school plans on increasing patrols on campus Monday. Drexel Police and Allied Security officers have been notified. They are also working with University of Pennsylvania Police and Philadelphia Police. 

Officials urged Drexel students to call Drexel Public Safety at 215-895-2222 or 911 if they noticed any suspicious activity, person or package. 

Villanova University officials also sent an alert to all students, faculty and staff notifying them of the threat. 

"The information includes a specific date of Monday, Oct. 5, 2015," wrote Villanova Public Safety Director David Tedjeske. "Authorities have no other knowledge of a specific threat. In response, the University has notified the Radnor Police Department and is working in conjunction with them to enhance protection of the campus. In addition, the Public Safety Department has increased security patrols. We ask that you remain aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity or behavior to the Department of Public Safety at 610-519-4444."

Another alert sent to Temple University students and faculty provided more details on the threat. 

"Temple University, along with other colleges and universities in our region, has learned from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) that a threat of violence has been made online against 'a university near Philadelphia,'" a Temple University official wrote. "This posting states an action could take place at 1 p.m. central (2 p.m. eastern) Monday, Oct. 5, 2015." 

Philadelphia University, The University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware sent out alerts as well. 

Officials have not revealed where they found the threat. However, several reports have mentioned a post on the popular imageboard website 4chan in which a user writes,"On October 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM CT, a fellow robot will take up arms against a university near Philadelphia. His cries will be heard, his victims will cower in fear, and the strength of the Union will decay a little more."

Schools as far out of the city as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania's Lehigh University also warned students of the threat.

"We are in ongoing contact with local and federal authorities, and, under an abundance of caution, the Lehigh University Police Department is increasing patrols and presence on and around campus," said an alert sent to Lehigh students. "We ask that you report any suspicious activities or concerns to the LUPD at 610-758-4200 (x84200 on campus)."

News of the threat comes only a few days after a gunman killed nine people and injured nine others before taking his own life at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.

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