Threat over BLM mural prompts UNC campus to issue a shelter-in-place order

UNC Asheville spent Friday under an emergency order as officials investigated a threat sent to campus via email

The University of North Carolina Asheville announced a shelter-in-place order on campus Friday morning after threatening emails were sent to the college in regards to a Black Lives Matter mural.

The order was lifted that evening after the school consulted with law enforcement.

UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable said in a video statement that the email “demanded that the Black Lives Matter mural on our campus be painted over.” Cable stated that staff in several university offices received threatening emails, although no specific names were mentioned.

UNC Asheville’s D. Hiden Ramsey Library (via Facebook)

The western North Carolina college, which is a part of the University of North Carolina system, took action. At 7:30 a.m., the school issued a shelter-in-place order for students living on campus and canceled school activities, including in-person and virtual classes. All commuting students and staff members were told to stay home or away from campus.

READ MORE: Minneapolis street to be named for George Floyd

According to the school’s website, UNC Asheville has over 3,600 students with 45% of its student body living in campus dorms.

READ MORE: US colleges struggle to salvage semester amid outbreaks

Cable stated that law enforcement at multiple levels, from local police all the way to the FBI, were contacted to address the threat and launch an investigation with campus police.

The order was later lifted at 7 p.m., but Cable said the campus would have “additional security and police presence” as officials carry out the investigation into the messages.

In the campus’ online updates of the lockdown, it has stated that such threats will “not be tolerated. “

“We remain fully committed to our University values of diversity, equity and inclusion. Black Lives Matter,” read the update. “This is about our University values that respect our students’ first amendment rights to express their views about the pain and sadness at the senseless loss of so many lives. Updates will be provided as information is made available.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!