A student didn’t make it to the first day of college class, but has learned a very serious lesson about going on social media and threatening to shoot people. Augustana University revoked a student’s admission, after a current student reported that former incoming freshman. According to Augie’s dean of students, a young man was in a chat group online and posted, “I’m shooting everybody at Augustana.” An investigation ruled it was only a joke, and not a credible threat.
Thousands of students come to Augustana University to start their path to adulthood. However, one of them won’t be starting classes on Wednesday.
“That’s unfortunate, but we have to take care of our students, faculty and staff,” Mark Blackburn, dean of students, said.
Augie alerted parents and the student body about the online threat. The alert informs parents that the student wasn’t on-campus, or in Sioux Falls at the time.
“This is an important step in communicating this broadly and also so the community knows we do our due diligence in looking at issues of this nature,” NIkki Troxclair, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Marketing, said.
Blackburn says even though it was a joke, it violates Augie’s code of conduct and it’s no laughing matter.
“Whether it’s a joke or a credible threat, Blackburn says the university takes any threat seriously.”
“I always tell students here, if you have a joke, read it before you send it,” Blackburn said. “Things in society, right now, we have to take everything literally. We did a pretty good job. It was quick.”
“I think it is an important message to send, especially in this day and age,” Troxclair said.
Augie has zero tolerance policy for any violent threat. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibits Blackburn from identifying the former incoming student, but says the university isn’t pressing charges. Troxclair and Blackburn hope this is a teachable moment for anyone who plans on setting foot on Augie’s campus.
“It’s unfortunate that a student had the consequences of that joke, follows you a long way. We hope he learns from this experience, but again, number one, our safety for faculty, students and staff is number one,” Blackburn said.