Otago students ditch class after shooting threat

Otago students ditch class after shooting threat

Universities around the country have been disrupted with threats that have come to nothing.

Parts of Massey University and Victoria University were cleared for a time after bomb threats, and police patrolled the grounds of the University of Otago after an online threat of a mass shooting.

Plain-clothed police patrolled the campus grounds today, as well as officers in uniform.

Students stayed away in significant numbers because of the shooting threat put on the internet forum 4Chan. Police said they were treating it seriously.

"While we cannot discuss some of the steps that we are taking publicly, we would like to reassure the university students, staff and the wider community that police are taking appropriate measures in relation to this post," says Inspector Mel Aitken.

While the university said it would carry on as normal, some lecturers decided to cancel classes for the day, advising students by email or text.

The library was practically deserted as many students stayed at home in the sun.

"I don't know. I think it's a hoax personally. I guess they had to treat it as it could potentially be real," says third-year Otago student Edward Scoular.

Some lectures were moved off campus, while a geography class was held in the Botanic Gardens.

One major end-of-year test in sociology went ahead, but students were told they wouldn't be penalised if they didn't go.

"This is a time when lecturers are giving students information about exams, so for this to crop up now is very stressful for everyone," says Otago University Students' Association's Paul Hunt.

There was stress for a time at Victoria University today too after a threatening note closed down part of the Kelburn campus.

The note found in the lifts claimed three bombs would explode at midday.

But it's relief all-round as the threats came to nothing, along with a separate bomb threat at Massey University's Palmerston North campus. 

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