As I write this post, I’m listening to the live MTSU press conference stream on Nashville is Talking. University Police Chief Buddy Peaster states classes were cancelled due to a threatening email & a few small fires in the past two days. The email did not threaten anyone specifically; instead, it was stating general “damage & destruction.” Cancellation was deemed to be the safest option for students (considering events such as Virgina Tech).

Students were notified via email and text alerts but some students have already raised a concern: they didn’t get the emergency text message. My former advisor–actually, he’s still the current advisor–at Sidelines sent a few Tweets about the cancellation this morning. It picked up on Twitter, especially since there are a quite a few former students and local newspeople in the Nashville/Murfreesboro Twitterstream. In fact, here is a feed for “MTSU” on Twitter.

Honestly, I’m rather unsure about this conference. Peaster is somewhat prepared but there still are too many unanswered questions or questions “answered” in a roundabout way. I do wish I still could write for Sidelines; I would love to be the one poking around, asking questions of Peaster, Tozier and other admins on campus. Apparently Tom Tozer, the University’s spokesperson, is out of the office until next week and no one was designated the official talking head while Tozer is away.

The press conference is now over but you can see the WKRN News 2 coverage w/ anchor Bob Mueller (‘stache power!) @ 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thanks goes to @thegrammarnazi & @nitweet for the updates and live feed!

BTW, here is the official email sent out to faculty, staff and students at MTSU:

To:                   MTSU Faculty, Staff and Students
Subject:            Class Cancellation
A credible threat to our campus has been made. As a result, as of noon today, classes will be cancelled for the remainder of the week. Campus Police, in cooperation with local and state law enforcement officials, are actively investigating the situation, which involves a series of threatening emails and suspicious fires.
During this time, campus security will be increased. University offices will maintain normal business hours and other campus events will go on as scheduled. Following our regularly scheduled fall break, classes will resume on Wednesday, October 15. Employees are encouraged to report any unusual or suspicious activity to Campus Police. More information will be provided on the MTSU home page as details become available.
Sidney A. McPhee
Middle Tennessee State University


Update: WKRN’s 4 p.m. news on the telly. Whoops, the reporter John Dwyer threw the video jump as “Sidney McPhee,” but it’s Buddy Teaster. Oh well, mistakes happen, especially with live television. And he apologized, so it’s okay. My favorite quote from the video clips: “Well, I feel safe because of all the cops here and stuff.” The only thing I can say to that is, even with University Police and then our city & county police force, crazy events happen–you can either be scared & hide or you can just stay alert and roll with it.

In 2003, a student was held up in his room @ Cummings Dorm the week before spring finals. My understanding, as it happened on the fifth floor & I was on the third during this event, was the young man was actually injured due to pistol-whipping. That tidbit was relayed to me by a friend who lived next door to the victim in the dorms.