‘Swatting’ continues to plague college campuses

Reports of “swatting” — a term that refers to calls that falsely report an act of violence in progress or about to occur to evoke an aggressive response from a law enforcement agency – are on the rise nationwide. Higher education continues to be a target. 

Between April 4 and April 9, swatting incidents occurred at numerous universities, both private and public, including Clemson, Florida, Boston, Harvard, Cornell, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Oklahoma and Middlebury. This follows a series of bomb threats last year at historically Black institutions.

On April 9, Wake Forest also was a victim of swatting, as the Winston-Salem Police received a call reporting an active shooter near Reynolda Hall and Benson University Center. WSPD notified Wake Forest University Police. Because University Police already had an officer in the area and because no calls were received from anyone on the campus, police quickly determined that no shots had been fired. Other officers arrived to investigate and confirm.

Wake Forest responded with a message through Wake Alert system letting the community know why there was a strong police presence on campus and that there had been a fraudulent report.

Safety of the community is a top priority at Wake Forest, and the University continually strives to improve its emergency systems and deliver timely, relevant and correct information. 

In the event of an emergency, Wake Forest University Police and the Office of Communcations and External Relations (CER) use the Wake Alert emergency system to share immediate actions required in the event there is a threat of harm to our community. These may include text, email and phone calls, and the use of Wake Alert Twitter and Facebook pages. Wake Forest Police may also use the outdoor alert system to provide direction to people on campus. Banners may also be posted on the WFU website. Messages shared on Wake Alert are posted on the Wake Alert website.

Threats of active shooters on campus or other threats to personal safety, even when they are false reports, are unsettling and frightening.

Wake Forest offers support and counseling services for all students, faculty and staff. The University Counseling Center may be reached at 336-758-5273 and the Office of the Chaplain may be contacted at 336-758-5210. For faculty and staff, there is also the Employee Assistance Program at 336-716-5493. Please do not hesitate to seek support.

Categories: Inside WFU