At approximately 11:40 p.m. on November 17, University Police were called to investigate reports of an armed man on Shortlidge Road. Police vehicles were sent to the Blue Loop stop on Shortlidge road to respond.
After investigating the area, police found no armed individuals and declared the area clear. “There is no armed man on campus,” a University Police officer said. “Everything is fine.”
Penn State has yet to respond to the situation. Additionally, no emergency alert PSUTXT was released surrounding the event.
We will keep you updated with more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE (November 18, 3:13 p.m.): At approximately 7:43 a.m., Penn State released a brief statement on Facebook. The original post stated that Penn State University police “responded to an unconfirmed report on social media.” After police arrived at the scene, they “determined that the report was baseless, so a message was not necessary.”
Two hours later, Penn State published a more in-depth statement. This statement was also on Penn State’s Facebook page, and was posted as a comment to the original statement:
“Penn State Police & Public Safety take seriously the safety and security of our campus community. They also take seriously the delicate balance between causing undue panic over unsubstantiated rumors and reporting factual information. Multiple times a day, police receive unsubstantiated information from the public, which they thoroughly investigate. If a text alert were to be sent for every tip received, the campus would be in chaos and messages about verified threats would have diminished impact.
Initial reporting by a student outlet included direct reference to the fact that the police already had investigated and found no threat.
As background, police initially received a report from a student, who said she saw a male walking near Shortlidge Road holding a metal object close to his body and carrying a satchel. We applaud this student for contacting police when she saw something she thought was out of the ordinary. Police immediately dispatched officers who found no threat and patrolled the area for the remainder of the evening. State College Police also were notified and assisted in the patrol. The initial radio call was reported by individuals on various social media platforms, including Yik Yak, which generated calls to police. Again, response to unsubstantiated rumors on social media must be measured.”