The University of New South Wales’ Sydney campus will remain open with an increased police presence despite a threat made against staff and students on social media.
A statement released by UNSW on its Facebook page earlier said “we are treating this incident seriously and have been liaising with the NSW Police through the anti-terrorism and security group and Local Area Command”.
The university released a further statement on Facebook on Monday afternoon saying the campus would remain open and classes would continue as normal on Tuesday.
“The police have been involved since the threat was first reported and investigations are ongoing,” the post read.
“UNSW is continuing to liaise with NSW Police and an increased police and security presence will remain on and around campus overnight and tomorrow.”
It is understood the threat was a general one and not directed at a specific group within the university which is in the Sydney suburb of Kensington.
Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate told reporters police had been working with the university throughout the day.
“A measured approach has been put in place,” he said.
“As a result of our investigation of the threat, as a result of the environment that we’re now in, we have put our plan in place with UNSW to address the issues.”
He said police were working with other agencies to determine the nature of the threat.
UNSW vice chancellor professor Ian Jacobs said the university was informed of the threats by police.
“We have taken advice from the police and security services since that time,” Professor Jacobs said.
“The advice we’ve received is that there is no requirement or need to change normal university activities.
“We have been advised to ask our staff and students to be vigilant and we have done that.
He said the university would continue to take advice from police if the situation changed and would update staff and students as new information came to hand.
Two hours before posting the warning on Facebook, the university account advertised its new “Stay Safe Security App”, encouraging students to download it.
‘I don’t feel safe today’
An internal email has been sent to students and staff, reminding them to remain vigilant about security and report any suspicious individuals or activities, incidents or crime in progress to UNSW security services.
The campus has not been evacuated and classes are continuing as normal.
Students have been told that if they do decide to leave campus they will not be penalised.
Commerce student Michael Nguyen, 19, told the ABC he decided to go home.
“It’s quite scary,” he said.
“Usually I would study here but I don’t feel safe today.”
Another student, Lakshana Yoganathan, said many students felt uneasy after hearing about the threat.
“I know so many people who still have lectures but … sort of want to go home,” she said.
“They don’t really feel safe.”
Another student, Laura, said the warning was unsettling given recent attacks in the United States.
“We’ve seen all the things in America,” she said.
“So it’s just a bit scary that someone could come here and shoot everybody.”
Premier Mike Baird said he had yet to be briefed on the situation and declined to comment.