Otago University, Otago Polytechnic, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University and the police have all been quick to respond to anonymous gun and bomb threats issued this week.
Otago University advised staff and students of the threat on Tuesday but remained open yesterday, the day the anonymous poster claimed they would carry out their threat.
The university, Otago Polytechnic and the police all had comprehensive plans in place to deal with the threat of gun violence.
Victoria University and police evacuated much of the university’s Kelburn campus yesterday after it received an anonymous bomb threat.
Not long after Massey University evacuated its Palmerston North registry building after also receiving a bomb threat.
TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs says the threats are deplorable.
“Even without anything eventuating from them, they undermine people’s sense that New Zealand tertiary education institutions are safe, welcoming, collegial spaces.”
Riggs say all institutions are doing their best to protect their staff and students, while maintaining the open public access and personal freedoms that are a central part of New Zealand’s tertiary education system.
“But we shouldn’t have to put up with an atmosphere of fear.”
Gun violence at universities has come to prominence recently with several horrific mass killings at US tertiary institutions such as Virginia Tech, the University of California and most recently Umpqua Community College.
“Whether the violent threats are real, exaggerated or hoaxes is irrelevant if people are fearful. Violence is the antithesis of what tertiary education institutions represent,” says Riggs.