I-Team 10 Investigation: Campus threat at Keuka College

Posted at: 10/23/2013 4:25 PM
Updated at: 10/23/2013 5:29 PM
By: Brett Davidsen

Police and the FBI are investigating a disturbing message left on a bathroom wall at Keuka College Tuesday. The handwritten message made references to the shooting at a Nevada school earlier this week and vowed the Keuka would “have its day as well.”

Students were notified about the incident, but parents were not.

I-Team 10 spoke with the sheriff and he says they have had an officer at the college all day Wednesday working with campus security to try to figure out who's responsible for the threat. He says while they are taking it seriously, they are not worried that the message scrawler will act.

The message was found Tuesday morning here inside ball hall on the lakeside campus of Keuka College.  A couple students noticed the writing on a wall inside the men's room. The message appears to reference Monday's middle school shooting in Nevada in which a student opened fire, killing a teacher and injuring two children.

The message says, “Yesterday, the school in Nevada had its day. Soon Keuka will have its day as well. One of these days, I will get pushed to that point and in return be famous.” The message ends with a quote often attributed to Adolf Hitler, “It is not truth that matters, but victory.”

Doug Lippencott. Keuka College Communications Director, said, "These things are always a little unsettling when they come out. But again, there was nothing specific, no specific threat. But nonetheless, the writing would have us believe that it's something that we should take seriously."

The college issued an email to students about what was discovered and attached a photo of the scrawling. 

Lippencott said, "We wanted to let them know there was an incident, but more so, we were looking for their help. Maybe somebody had seen the handwriting or knew of somebody, something that was going on."

I-Team 10 wanted to know what students were feeling after getting the school's email.

Chinyere Ukwu, Keuka College student, said, "I was terrified. I was really scared because it's not like you know if the threat is real because this type of stuff happens all the time."

Courtney Nojeim, Keuka College, said, "It was kind of scary, but at the same time, I wasn't too concerned."

At least one person did express concern on the college's web page that parents weren't notified of the incident. Keuka College does have an early alert system that sends emails and texts to parents or students who sign up, but the system wasn't activated for this incident. Keuka's communications director says it is because the threat was not specific.

Lippencott said, “We feel that we thought more overriding that was we didn't want to create a panic on campus. Again, we have a plan in place when there is a real threat to somebody, and again, if you start sending out emails every time something happens on campus that's not a threat, people aren't going to pay attention to it."   

The sheriff says the college had a similar situation occur last spring, where someone left a threatening message on a men's room wall. But investigators do not believe the two incidents are related.