Police respond to threat at University of Miami’s School of Communication

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photo by Julie Harans

Police vehicles report to the School of Communication after reports of a gun threat Thursday afternoon. Julie Harans // Managing Editor

University of Miami School of Communication students have reported an unidentified student allegedly made a threat during an afternoon class after entering the room with handcuffs, two cans of beer, a bottle of pills and a GoPro camera strapped to her chest.

The incident took place between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Professor Patrick Waldinger’s Argumentation and Critical Thinking class, according to Molly Greenberg, a student in the class. The student, who Greenberg identified as Maria, was supposed to give a presentation and appeared to be unstable.

Maria allegedly made the classmate sitting next to her handcuff her hands together and keep the key through the remainder of the presentation. She then walked up to the front of the class with two cans of beer and a bottle of pills, “just in case.”

Four police vehicles were parked in front of the entrance to the School of Communication on Brunson Drive around 2:20 p.m. “It’s safe. Nothing is going on,” a UM Police Department officer said.

Greenberg said the student went on an “insane rant about how she was a paranoid schizophrenic and all these things,” and at one point made a “casual” comment about how she could have shot up the class but instead came to “teach” her peers.

Greenberg said the woman did mention that she was “in some sort of U.S. Army.”

After finishing her presentation, the student reportedly walked out and Waldinger followed her outside. When he reentered the class, he dismissed the students as a precaution but assured them the student was not armed.

UMPD was called to the school. There was no message sent out to students through the university’s Emergency Notification Network (ENN), but University Communications released a statement through its Twitter account around 3 p.m. saying the situation was no threat to the campus.

“The safety of our students is of paramount importance. Administration is aware of the matter, and proper steps to ensure safety have been taken,” the statement said. “There is no threat to the campus.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article included unverified information overheard from professors speaking about the student involved in the incident.

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5 Comments

  1. The thing about smart people is that they sound like “crazy” people to dumb people. -unknown.

  2. I have to agree with the comment above. I find it very disturbing that nothing more was done for the safety of students. How would the professor know exactly what was in those two cans with the student? Think about the most recent can explosive on a plane. Sweeping things under the rug by both the Comm School, The University and campus police is putting students and staff at risk.

    I have to ask was this addressed as a form of a terrorist act? It may have only been a student but it is terrorizing other students.

  3. There was no such “threat” Molly and the Miami hurricane did not fact check. The student was giving a presentation on declining student resilience and how she would like to have their undivided attention. The class discusses controversial issues and the tactic with the handcuffs and GoPro got the students to pay attention but there was never a threat, nor a firearm on campus.

  4. Really, UM? I would think that this would be considered an emergency and that some sort of warning should be let out to the students. In light of this year’s events with gun violence, a very poor showing on their part to keep students informed and safe.