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Police find no credible threat after University of Toronto investigation

A campus police officer talks to a driver entering the downtown main campus after online threats were posted calling for the killing of feminists, in Toronto on Friday September 11, 2015.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

An investigation into an anonymous online threat against women at the University of Toronto has not identified any credible threat to members of the university community, Toronto police said Friday afternoon.

Last week, comments on blogTO, a local food and lifestyle site, threatened women in the university's women's studies and sociology departments. The comments, posted in a thread about restaurants, and written by someone with the handle "Kill Feminists," have since been deleted.

Police began investigating the comments the same day they were posted.

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On Thursday, the university sent out an e-mail informing students, staff and faculty that it had increased the presence of campus police in response to the threat. The e-mail did not give details of the threat.

"There is always a balance of information. We had advice from experts … and we visibly increased the police presence while respecting the balance of the investigation," said David Estok, vice-president of communications at the university.

Copies of the original posts circulated on Twitter and Reddit in the last few days. Colleges and other departments at the university sent their members more specific information, including the fact that the threats were made against women.

"The wording and content of the threats are beyond abhorrent," said an e-mail from the union representing teaching assistants. The note reminded instructors that they could choose not to work if they believe their safety is at risk.

Toronto police said the investigation was continuing and involved their cyber crime unit. A Toronto police spokesperson said that if a suspect was identified, they could face charges of public mischief and hate speech among others.

Also on Friday, university president Meric Gertler released a statement reiterating the university's long-standing support of women's studies and its co-operation with the police investigation.

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About the Author
Postsecondary Education Reporter

Simona Chiose covers postsecondary education for The Globe and Mail. She was previously the paper’s Education Editor, coordinating coverage of all aspects of education, from kindergarten to college and university. She has a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. More

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