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Otago University threat - Friday 10.15am update

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Friday, 9 October 2015 10:22am

10.15am Friday 9 October 2015

Message from the Vice-Chancellor:

This is most likely the final update for the week. There is no significant news to report, other than to let you know that the Police investigation is ongoing and their presence on campus will remain. I would like to remind staff and students that the Dunedin campus remains open and I ask that you please remain vigilant and alert, and to report any suspicious activity.

Once again, if you have information about a specific person that you want passed on to the Police, please email campus.cop@otago.ac.nz with details of your concerns. For all urgent matters, please contact the police on 111. Additionally, information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Police, University and Campus Watch staff are available to talk with anyone who has any concerns.

I will be back in touch when there is significant information that I can share. As has been the case this week, we will post new information on this page as and when required.

Professor Harlene Hayne

10:30am Thursday 8 October 2015

Message from the Vice-Chancellor:

The campus remains open for business as usual today. As we move towards examinations, it is heartening to see staff and students getting on with their study and work and it is great to see the natural rhythm of life on campus this morning.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your patience and co-operation yesterday. I know that the students who attended classes and were on campus, drew considerable strength from your calm presence. OUSA and the student community have also been incredibly helpful and supportive, and this has not gone unnoticed.

The University is working very closely with the Police who are continuing with their investigations. I would like to acknowledge their unwavering professionalism and dedication. The Police have done, and continue to do, a fantastic job. They will keep us up to date if the situation changes, and I will pass on news to you when this is possible. As you will no doubt notice, there is ongoing Police presence on campus.

Please remain assured that the safety of our students and staff is paramount and we are doing all we can to ensure that the campus is safe and secure. Police are continuing to remind those on the university grounds to remain vigilant and alert, and to report any suspicious activity.

If you have information about a specific person that you want passed on to the police please email campus.cop@otago.ac.nz with details of your concerns. For all urgent matters, please contact the police on 111. Police, University and Campus Watch staff are available to talk with anyone who has any concerns.

Professor Harlene Hayne

5pm Wednesday 7 October 2015


Police investigation into the online threat relating to the University’s Dunedin campus is continuing. The University will be open for business as usual tomorrow.

12pm Wednesday 7 October 2015

Police are continuing to look into the online threat made against the University of Otago's Dunedin campus. Police and the University continue to remind students to remain alert and vigilant, but not unnecessarily alarmed as the investigation continues into the source and authenticity of the post.

The campus remains open for business as usual, and there will be an increased Police presence in the wider University area. Please be assured that the safety of our students and staff is paramount and we are doing all we can to ensure that the campus is safe and secure. If you have information about a specific person that you want passed on to the police please email campus.cop@otago.ac.nz with details of your concerns. For all urgent matters, please contact the police on 111.

Police, University and Campus Watch staff are available to talk with anyone who has any concerns.

While some individual staff may choose to postpone scheduled classes, the University is open for business as usual. Where possible, please put notice of any lecture postponement/cancellation on Blackboard for at least one hour before the lecture.

Where possible, staff are encouraged to put any lecture materials for today’s lectures on Blackboard, even if this would not normally be the case. This will allow those students who do not attend lectures to be up-to-date.

4:30pm Tuesday 6 October 2015

Dunedin Police are aware of a threat made via an online post that relates to the University of Otago's Dunedin campus.

The campus remains open for business as usual.

Specialist staff are actively investigating the post with assistance from the High Tech Crime Group in Wellington. Police are also working closely with the Vice-Chancellor and the university.

“Police would like to reassure university staff and students, and the wider Dunedin community, that appropriate measures are being taken in relation to the post,” says Inspector Mel Aitken, acting Area Commander: Otago Coastal.

“Police take any threat seriously while its source and authenticity is being assessed.

“Our advice at this time is to be alert and vigilant but not alarmed while our investigation is ongoing.

“Police will be maintaining a high visibility presence in the area and taking other appropriate steps which we are unable to discuss publicly.

“We are also asking those in the University area to report any suspicious behaviour immediately to Police.

“We understand that a threat of this nature could be concerning to some people. Police, Otago University and Campus Watch staff will be available to speak with anyone who has concerns.

“Police is experienced at assessing a range of threats and we investigate any matter of concern which comes to our attention. We are also mindful of the possibility of “copycat” threats following high profile events which occur overseas. We will deal firmly with any individuals associated with any such copycat threats.

“Police will communicate any further advice necessary as our investigation progresses, and we will continue to work closely with the University of Otago,” said Ms Aitken.