On Saturday, Jan. 11 an anonymous post threatening bodily harm against a member of the English Department was posted on the Montevallo Confessions Facebook page.
The Confessions page uses a Google service to receive anonymous submissions, which the administrator then posts. The police were notified and took action — the next day officers were posted all around campus, especially in Comer Hall.
The University of Montevallo Police Department’s Chief Chadd Adams said, “The UM police take all threats seriously.” Campus authorities have submitted warrants to both Google and Facebook, and both media outlets are cooperating. Once the information identifies the original poster of the threat, the police will take action.
Adams encourages whomever the poster is to come forward and seek help. “You’ll be in a lot more trouble if we have to take action,” he said. “There is a system in place here [at the university] to help students that are having problems. These systems don’t always exist once you leave college. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the services if they need it.”
The administrator of the Montevallo Confessions page has cooperated with police so far and has not posted anything since Jan. 13.
Adams said additional police presence will continue until the investigation is over.
English Department head Paul Mahaffey said, “This is first time in all of my years, since being an undergraduate in ’89, that we [the English department] have encountered something like this.” He said that the presence of police in the halls provides “a physical presence to keep people at ease.”
Adams has been keeping the English Department updated on the measures UMPD have been taking. “This incident has shown a sense of accountability for what you post on the internet,” Adams stated.