An Alert Carolina message was sent at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, saying DPS was investigating a social media claim but that there was no immediate threat to campus.
Audrey Wells, a sophomore, said a friend had already told her about the threat, but she thinks the alert should have been sent much earlier.
“For people who didn’t know, that was their first time hearing about it, and that was really scary,” she said.
DPS spokesman Randy Young said alerts aren’t typically sent out to let people know that there isn’t a threat. But he said the widespread concern sparked by the post — exacerbated by similar threats on other college campuses — warranted a message.
He said DPS occasionally receives reports of social media threats.
A shooting late Wednesday at Florida State University’s main library shook students nationwide, and UNC senior Jenny Drabble said that event caused her to worry more about the threat at UNC.
Drabble works at UNC Student Stores and said her supervisor told her and other employees Thursday morning that they could go home if they felt unsafe. She said students avoided the area around the Pit all morning.
“The Pit was like a ghost town,” she said. “Nobody would cross into the Pit. People would walk around it, but even then there weren’t many people.”
Security was also heightened at Carroll Hall, where a K-9 officer was seen near the entrance just after noon.
Wells said two men dressed in suits who looked like detectives walked into her 11 a.m. Economics 101 class in Carroll, and they asked to talk to instructor Rita Balaban in the hallway.
After about a minute, Wells said Balaban returned, resuming teaching like nothing had happened. But Wells said the men stood posted at the front exits to the room as students left, and both were holding a piece of paper that looked like it had a face on it.
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“They were scanning the class as people were filing out,” she said.
Despite uncertainty surrounding the threat, Wells said she didn’t consider skipping class because of it.
“I didn’t honestly think that it was going to happen, but it was still disconcerting that someone would say something like that.”