Addressing Last Week’s Rumored Threat of Violence—A message from Vice President Fitzsimons and Vice President Segar

Posted on 10/3/22 8:46 AM

We realize any potential threat of danger is a scary situation and creates anxious moments for our students, our employees, and for our families. 

Please know that the safety of our students, faculty and staff is a key priority. We take every potential threat to our campus seriously and treat any information we find with urgency, care, and scrutiny. 

We understand that instead of providing relief, the information we shared last week with regards to a social media post of concern instead may have caused confusion and feelings of uncertainty.

While we can’t always provide all the details in a developing situation without compromising the investigation and security precautions taken to protect you, your comments indicate that we should have communicated sooner, with greater clarity and recognition of the personal impact of the message. We have heard your concerns, and we will use what we have learned from this experience for future communications.

We want to provide additional information to help you understand what occurred last week, the actions we took to protect you, and what to expect for future communications with regards to potential dangers and imminent dangers on and around our campuses.

While there are details we cannot share because they would compromise the effectiveness of our police and this and future investigations, we want you to know this information:

  • There was an initial post made anonymously late in the day on Sept. 26 on a social media platform that warned of violence. This post did not include any location.
  • During the evening of Sept. 26, there was a post on the same social media platform with the single phrase “Jane Leonard Hall.” 
  • Students came to University Police on the evening of Sept. 26 after seeing this second post, with concerns that these two posts were related.

Our immediate steps in response to these concerns included:

  • Consultation with other law enforcement agencies, including the Pennsylvania State Police and Indiana Borough Police;
  • Creating and launching a response plan, which included increased patrols throughout campus and a thorough search of Jane Leonard Hall prior to the beginning of classes, and continued searches of this building and other campus locations;
  • Notification to the social media company of the need to identify the person posting the initial and the person posting the subsequent message, and legal steps to begin that process.

If our investigation had determined that the campus was in immediate danger, we would have engaged our Emergency Notification System, which sends text messages, makes phone calls, and sends emails to your IUP address. This system is used in times of critical, immediate emergency.

Because our investigation determined that the threat was not credible, and that there was not imminent danger to you, we communicated the information we knew to you via email (which is the university’s official communication channel).

While we hope that we will not face this situation again, or that we will have the need to communicate a message of imminent danger, to keep you and the campus safe, it is very important that you:

  • Make sure you are enrolled in the Emergency Notification System and have not accidently “opted out;”
  • Do not spread partial, or unreliable, social media information;
  • Monitor IUP’s official information channels and follow our directions for your safety.

We are actively working to identify the individual(s) who make posts with threats or posts that cause concern, and we will pursue criminal charges. While postings are anonymous, the social media platform and telecommunications companies will cooperate with law enforcement in these matters.

If you are feeling anxious or concerned about this incident, or your safety on campus, please reach out for help to a trusted friend, staff member, faculty member, or to our IUP Counseling Center.  There are many resources here to help you – you are never alone at IUP.

Thank you, in advance, for your patience and your understanding.

If you have questions or concerns, let us know. Email us at

Debra L. Fitzsimons
Vice President for Administration and Finance

Thomas Segar
Vice President for Student Affairs