Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Yesterday afternoon, Dean of Students Jim Larimore sent an email to all of Swarthmore’s students announcing that “an overnight posting on a public Web site … contained a threat of violence against fellow Swarthmore students.”
The Gazette is investigating these postings, but several anonymous sources have revealed that the threats originated in the Daily Jolt. Between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., an anonymous user created a thread entitled “massacre,” in which the user, according to a later participant in the thread, wrote “I’m going to shoot the first 10 freshmen i see tomorrow.” The thread amassed five posts (all of which have since been deleted), in which three other users suggested that the original post was inappropriate.
At this time, the Gazette has no information which suggests the poster had any intention or capability to act on the threat.
The student, who is a regular on the Jolt forum, suggested that the original post might have been in response to a dramatic upswing in the number of threads consisting of ad-hominem attacks. Some long-time users attribute this spike to new freshman users. “Lots of old jolters blame the freshmen,” explained the Gazette’s source.
Swarthmore maintains records linking IP addresses to unique machine addresses for a month, which means if the Daily Jolt told the IP address of the poster to ITS, it would be easy to immediately identify the computer from which the post was made.
As more information on this story becomes available, we’ll update this article.