Yesterday afternoon, the Dean of Students Office issued a message to students regarding a previous terroristic threat to Georgia Southern University’s campus that was resolved in early February.
“We got an email, an anonymous email that said someone had seen a posting on the blogging site Tumblr, and that there was a threatening message about ‘shooting up’ Georgia Southern University,” Chief Michael Russell, director of Public Safety, said.
On Feb. 8 Caleb Jamaal Clemmons, a 20-year-old GSU student, was arrested and charged with terroristic threats via computer.
“We were able to access the site, and there were some pictures of the person,” Russell said. “We were able to identify that person as a student, and we arrested him a short time later.”
The message was sent after Dean of Students Patrice Jackson heard that the old posting on social media sites had resurfaced and was brought to the attention of students.
“I felt in order to answer any questions about a perceived threat or a fear of a threat, I needed to let students know we had resolved the issue,” Jackson said.
“The accused person is no longer on campus,” according to the email message from Jackson.
Authorities searched Clemmons’ residence and found no weapons or any signs of a plan or plot to attack, Russell said.
Clemmons told authorities that he made the post as a joke to see how long it would take him to be arrested, which only took around three hours, Russell said.
The university community was not originally notified because there was no continuous threat, Jackson said.
“The Dean of Students Office is responsible for the notifications to students, and our standard is, ‘Is there a continued threat?’ because the purpose of the notification is not just to give you information, but it’s also so you can be aware and protect yourself and take extra, cautious steps if need be,” Jackson said.
The reason email message contained very few details was due to protections Clemmons receives under the Federal Education Rights to Privacy Act, which protects and information that is considered an education record such as conduct or judicial records, Jackson said.
Neither Russell nor Jackson were able to confirm whether Clemmons was expelled or offer information regarding judicial actions by the university due to FERPA.
Russell said that GSU authorities are trying to contact Tumblr to have the post removed.