The University of North Carolina Asheville campus went into lockdown the morning of October 9 after the college received a threat demanding that the campus’s Black Lives Matter mural be painted over, according to UNC Asheville’s BulldogAlert.
The morning after receiving the threatening email, the university instructed its faculty, staff, and students to “shelter in place” while telling non-essential workers to head home. As a result, all classes — both in-person and virtual — were cancelled.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies investigated the threat until the lockdown orders were lifted almost 10 hours later. The school will still keep a “vigilant police presence” on the campus for the next few days, according to a video update by UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable.
The email threat did not mention anyone specifically, although details about the threat have not been released.
“The impact on our academic community has been very significant,” Cable said in the video. “This has been an exceedingly difficult day for our UNCA academic community, our students, our faculty, our staff.
Cable is asking faculty and students to remain “vigilant” as they continue their investigation.
“We remain fully committed to our University values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Cable said in a statement in the final BulldogAlert update. “Black Lives Matter. 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.”
According to a report by ABC 13 News, lead organizer of Asheville’s Black Lives Matter group Delores Venable — who was “disturbed but not deterred” — said that the threat to the campus was meant to “instill fear.”
“I think we live in a society where we know that Black Lives Matter is more than paint on the street,” Venable told ABC 13 News. “It’s a movement that has people in it, so doing acts like that doesn’t stop the movement.”