Threat leads to partial evacuation of Chavez Building
Power outages closed buildings across the University of Arizona campus on Tuesday. However, there was a different reason for the evacuation and canceling of classes on at least one floor of the Cesar Chavez building: a threat.
According to Mexican American Studies associate professor Roberto Rodriguez, who goes by Dr. Cintli, his department — housed on the second floor of the Chavez building — evacuated due to a death threat that came in on social media.
“On Tuesday at about 1 p.m., I was told to leave the Chavez building,” Rodriguez said. “They told me that we had received death threats and everybody from the department was leaving the building. And on the other end of the building — the Guerrero Center — same thing.”
Ramon Moreno, a University of Arizona Police Department information officer, confirmed his department received a call regarding a “thirdhand” threat received by the MAS department on Facebook.
The threat was non-specific, according to Moreno, and officers arrived on scene to inspect the building.
Moreno said the officers did not note anything criminal or suspicious. Any decision to cancel classes was the decision of the department or professors, according to Moreno, and did not come from any directive given by UAPD.
According to Rodriguez, who said he saw the text of the threat, the missive was addressed “To all you Commie professors.” He said he believed the threat was tied to the recent incident between U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and a UA student.
Rodriguez is part of UA Faculty of Color, a group of “about 40 or 45” professors from different departments across campus, according to Rodriguez.
The group issued a letter yesterday that sought to offer the perspective of “what we have not heard in public.”
The letter alleges knowledge of death threats made against two students recently charged with misdemeanors following their protest of Border Patrol agents in the Modern Languages Building on March 19.
“This same community has been subjected to similar death threats in the recent past,” the letter reads. “These are not minor matters. When we see violence throughout the country encouraged by U.S. politicians, etc., those threats cannot be ignored.”
The group is “completely opposed to charging students for expressing their 1st Amendment Rights,” according to the letter. The group also hopes UA's administration will shift the focus of their investigation to threats against the protesting students rather than on the students themselves.
“The investigation into those death threats should be the number one priority of this Administration,” the letter reads.
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