Students and staff at a North Carolina college were told to stay off campus and “shelter in place” Friday because of threats demanding that a Black Lives Matter mural be painted over, university officials said.
Administrators at the University of North Carolina Asheville issued a shelter-in-place order early Friday after several offices at the public college received an email containing a “direct threat” to the community.
“The email demanded that the Black Lives Matter mural on University Heights on campus be painted over,” the notice reads. “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.”
University officials hope to reopen the campus as soon as possible, but that won’t happen until Saturday morning at the earliest, according to the alert.
Campus police were coordinating with state and local authorities regarding the threat, which led to the cancellation of all in-person and remote classes, as well as extracurricular activities throughout Friday.
“We are working with the authorities to keep our campus safe and to return to the work of the university,” the alert continued.
A notice posted earlier Friday instructed all of the university’s roughly 3,600 students on campus to shelter in place while non-essential personnel were told to return home for the day.
The massive mural, which was created by black student artists on Sept. 30, was painted using “permanent road paint” and took roughly eight hours to complete, according to the university’s website.
“It will remain on University Heights indefinitely,” the website reads.
A spokesman for UNC Asheville declined to provide further details on the threats, the Asheville Citizen Times reported.
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