The Utah State University was supposed to receive a talk by game critic Anita Sarkeesian later on today, 15 October. The talk was arranged by the Centre for Woman and Gender Studies, but after members and other university faculty members received a chilling email, Sarkeesian was forced to cancel her appearance.
The email received by the university threatened a “Montreal Massacre style attack” should they allow Sarkeesian’s talk to go ahead. “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the threat read. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.”
The email cautioned the university not to increase security at the talk, and said that even if they did and they manage to stop him, the university would not be able to protect other feminists on the campus and that “one way or another, [he] was going to make sure they die.”
The university and Sarkeesian alerted Utah police forces shortly after the threat was received. The police were already planning to provide Sarkeesian with beefed up security owing to previous threats made against her. However, the state of Utah has a law that allows permit holders to carry concealed weapons in a public area, and that includes universities. As a result, the Utah police essentially had their hands tied by the law, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Consequently, owing to the very serious nature of the threat and the Utah police being unable to enforce a greater control on campus, the Utah State University and Sarkeesian opted to cancel the talk. Sarkeesian has since reiterated on Twitter that she cancelled the talk due to inadequate security measures and not because of the threat.
To be clear: I didn’t cancel my USU talk because of terrorist threats, I canceled because I didn’t feel the security measures were adequate.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 15, 2014
You can read the full email received by the university over here. It’s scary stuff. The person behind the email claims to be a Utah State University student, but campus faculty members question the validity of that claim based on the tone of the email.
The FBI has gotten involved in the investigation.