The threat against Linköping University on Friday 23 August 2019
On Friday morning, 23 August, posters were discovered on Campus Valla. Several co-workers and students expressed concern, and after consulting the police, managers and leaders in the university were informed. The situation was reassessed early in the afternoon. The security manager informed the university management, and University Director Kent Waltersson decided that the campuses should be closed.
This decision was taken against the background of the posters that had been discovered earlier on Friday, which were associated with an Instagram account. This account contained video films showing a man with an object with the appearance of a weapon. A video published later showed the same man on Campus Valla at night, setting up posters. These videos, together with further consultations with the police, led to the decision to activate the Crisis Management Group, which remained activated throughout Friday afternoon.
The university campuses were evacuated following a coordinated communications process to co-workers, students and other collaborators present in or close to the university premises. Security personnel were called in and surveyed the premises on all campuses to inform those present about the evacuation and ensure that all people left the buildings. Information was rapidly published on liu.se, Inside LiU, student.liu.se, the TV screens mounted in the university buildings, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Information was also distributed by email and SMS. The Crisis Management Group gave priority to rapidly spreading information through several media, and in this way establishing further information channels. The student unions also contributed in a commendable manner to spreading the information.
“What happened on Friday is extremely unusual”, says Kent Waltersson, university director. “As far as I know, LiU has never previously closed down its operations. Fortunately, this turned out to be an exercise under realistic conditions, and we can use it to as a learning experience.”
Security personnel searched the university premises after the evacuation for suspicious items, such as boxes and bags. At around 5 pm, the Crisis Management Group was informed by the police that they had taken action against a suspect, and thus it was decided that the university was to reopen on Saturday morning.
“I would like to take this opportunity to express the university management’s deep and sincere gratitude to all who made it possible to close the university in a well-organised manner. Finally, I would like to praise our student unions, which have been an immense help”, says Kent Waltersson.
As is customary after activation of the Crisis Management Group, the events will be evaluated. One topic that will be investigated is problems that arose with email sent to students, which in some cases was delayed for several hours before reaching the recipient.
Translated by George Farrants
Last updated: 2019-08-26