The Kensington campus of UNSW is currently on high alert, after a series of posts on newsboard 4Chan told students at UNSW “I finally managed to get a handgun. Australians, if you study at UNSW don’t go in tomorrow.”
The post mirrors a post before a shooting at an Oregon Community College in early October.
Many subsequent commenters ridicule the post, others post links to the NSW and Federal Police Force tipoffs address, and others still joke about the situation. Some ask the poster to “prove it”. While it is possible the post is a hoax, one comment on the threat, purporting to be the original poster, posted an image of a pistol, claiming it was in their possession. The photo has no timestamp, which raises some questions about its veracity.
NSW police told Honi they were “investigating comments on social media regarding a university in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Police are working with the university regarding this matter and will be at the facility throughout the day. Anyone with information which may assist police should contact CrimeStoppers.”
The UNSW Facebook page this morning posted a security notice to students, telling them that “UNSW has been made aware of a threat to the safety of staff and students on the Kensington campus. We are treating this incident seriously and have been liaising with the NSW Police through the anti-terrorism and security group and Local Area Command.” A further statement on the UNSW website gives further details “The campus has not been evacuated at this stage and classes are continuing as normal. Those who would prefer to leave campus will not be penalised.”
A spokesperson for the University of Sydney said “The University of Sydney is in regular contact with all emergency services to ensure continued safety of students and staff on all its campuses. We are not aware of any threats [to USyd] at this time.”
On Tuesday morning the UNSW Facebook page posted a new update. It reads, in part, “The increased police and security presence on campus will remain in place today while the investigation continues.” and “Staff and students should remain vigilant and alert, but not alarmed. Classes will run as normal and students are expected to attend.”
Several students ask in the comments if they will be penalised for non-attendance, as attendance requirements were waived on Monday. The university responded “classes will run as normal today”, which, as several students point out in the comments, doesn’t answer the question.
Honi Soit has contacted UNSW for comment and will update as the story unfolds.
The full post, which has been removed from 4Chan, is included below. There is further discussion of the post in this thread from the early hours of this morning.