University receives written threat

SIU received a written threat against the university early Wednesday morning.

The SIU Department of Public Safety sent a text via the SIUC alert system at 9:36 a.m. Wednesday morning that stated a written threat was made to the university. The text also stated the threat is not considered credible.

“SIU administrators and the Department of Public Safety are taking this threat very seriously,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said in the statement. “The safety of students, faculty and staff are the University’s number one priority. Our Campus security team is working with the FBI and will take all precautions necessary to address any safety concerns.”

Cheng also addressed the release’s credibility.

“While the threat’s credibility is in doubt, it is very important to closely monitor the situation,” she said. “I encourage everyone to maintain their normal schedules and daily assignments at this time.”

Rod Sievers, university spokesman, said the university received the written threat in the mail around midnight Wednesday. Sievers said the FBI has been involved with the threat because the U.S. Postal Service is a government organization.

“I don’t think the threat is credible, but (the FBI and DPS) are taking it seriously,” Sievers said.

He said campus safety is SIU’s No. 1 priority, and law officials will pursue this case until it is over.

Brad Ware, a media representative for the FBI, said the agency has made everyone’s on-campus safety a priority during the investigation. He said students who see or hear anything regarding the threat should contact the authorities.

DPS did not comment on the threat.

This is not the first time SIU has received threats in recent years, and Sievers said he thinks the past ones are unrelated to Wednesday morning’s.

Last year, Maurice Wiggins, a 23-year old Chicago man, posted bomb threats to SIU’s website. and sent anonymous emails that targeted the Student Center and residence halls. His estranged girlfriend was a student at the university.

Wiggins was reportedly upset about a breakup last August when he made a threatening cellphone message to the university’s crime watch website. He also called campus police several times and left messages of plans to rape and kill 30 female students. One of Wiggins’ messages stated he planned to kill 4,000 students and staff by bombing three residence halls and the Student Center between September and November 2011, according to information released by the FBI in September 2011.

Wiggins eventually admitted to these crimes and pleaded guilty to a felony charge. He is spending his 16-month-sentence in prison and has been ordered to spend three years on post-prison supervision upon release.

Anyone who observes suspicious behavior has been asked to report information to the SIU Department of Public Safety at 618-453-3771 or to the FBI office in Marion at 618-997-6847.

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