An upstate New York college went on lockdown Monday night after an “active shooter” reported on campus turned out to be a black student carrying a glue gun for an art project.
Colgate University President Brian W. Casey issued a statement Tuesday calling for an investigation into the incident he described as a “profound error” and said there was “implicit racial bias.”
“It is important that we understand the role that implicit racial bias had in the initial reporting of and responses to the events of (Monday) night,” the president said. “I want to make sure we speak with those who made and received the initial report to understand the role this played.”
A Colgate student called campus safety to alert them that they had seen a black man with what appeared to be a gun.
The liberal arts college then notified students of “a dangerous situation in the Coop” and advised them “to leave the building.”
Subsequent alerts on social media said there was an alleged “armed person at the Coop” but did not report shots fired as law enforcement continued to search the campus.
Eventually, the university said the New York State Police cleared the issue while the school conducted its investigation.
After a nearly four-hour lockdown, the university said law enforcement identified the individual as a Colgate student who was using a glue gun for an art project.
“We understand this has been a very upsetting evening on many levels,” the university said in a statement.
The president said the school is in contact with the student who was carrying the glue gun as well as the student who made the initial report.
Colgate has not identified those students.
Casey said Campus Safety Director Bill Ferguson, who was leading the university’s safety efforts Monday night, was put on administrative leave.
Colgate students took to social media to express their concerns as the campus alerts kept pouring in.
“I am glad things did not turn out to be as bad as we thought,” student Miranda Robles said. “However, this is extremely problematic and absurd.”
“As an African American male, this shows me that I really cannot simply live,” student Tolu Emokpae said. “(I’m) beginning to question everything about my choice in school. How embarrassed I am to call myself a Colgate student at the moment, hope that changes.”
“We spent all night on lockdown fearing for our lives because a young black man was doing an art project. This is racism – this is Colgate,” another student said.
Credit: NY Daily News