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-UPDATED Friday 7:02 p.m.-
UNC Asheville’s senior administration suspended all in-person and virtual classes, practices and other university activities due to a direct threat to community members on campus early Friday morning.
“A decision has been made to send a Bulldog Alert to all faculty, staff and students to shelter in place until further notice. We ask that employees, other than essential personnel, stay away from campus today,” Chancellor Nancy Cable said in an email.
The threat comes nine days after students painted a Black Lives Matter mural on University Heights during Student Rights Week. According to Cable, the threat, which was communicated to several University offices during the night, demanded the mural be painted over. The email remains under investigation by federal, state and local authorities, as of 7 p.m.
Police Chief Eric Boyce and other administrators will continue to update students as more information becomes available.
“We are working with the authorities to keep our campus safe and to return to the work of the University as soon as possible. If you have questions, please be in touch with your senior staff member,” Cable said.
University officials, working with federal, state and local law enforcement, lifted the shelter in place order late Friday evening via email and Bulldog Alerts.
Cable advised students to remain vigilant and take care of one another.
“We remain fully committed to our University values of diversity, equity and inclusion. 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,” Cable said.
Boyce recommended students download Rocky Shield, a student safety app, to keep up to date on alerts from the University. Updates remain available through Bulldog Alerts and on UNCA’s website.
“I want to emphasize to our students that if you see something, say something. You may also contact University Police at 828-251-6710 for a safety escort on campus at any time,” Boyce said in an email.
UNCA’s student Health Ambassadors invite all students to a Virtual Support Hour at 10 a.m. on Friday. The Zoom link is available here. For more support, please contact the Health and Counseling Center at 818-251-6520.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates on our Instagram @uncabluebanner.