Investigations are still underway after anonymous threats targeting feminists and members of U of T’s sociology and women and gender studies departments surfaced on the popular Toronto website blogTO.
“Toronto Police Services have informed us that the level of risk of this anonymous, despicable threat is low,” said David Estok, U of T’s VP communications. “Having said that, we did want to take a number of steps to reassure the community that we were taking steps to make things safe.”
According to Estok, course instructors were permitted to postpone or host classes online if they felt their classroom’s security was threatened, but aside from a few cases, most classes last week continued to run as scheduled. Estok also told The Medium that if classes were cancelled, they were used as teachable moments as professors briefed their students on the situation and asked that they come prepared for a discussion in class during the following week.
Other than two sociology classes at UTM, the total number of classes that were postponed due to the threats is unknown.
In an email, Patricia Landolt, chair of the St. George sociology department, told The Medium that no classes were cancelled in the downtown sociology department. Landolt added that numerous events such as teach-ins and acts of solidarity had been organized in support of the faculty and students.
Shortly after the threats were posted on blogTO, CBC News revealed new information, which reported U of T receiving similar online threats in June. When asked to comment on the lack of a public notice regarding the June threats, Estok told The Medium that the matter had been handed over to the Toronto police and now forms a part of their ongoing investigation.
On September 5, an unidentified user posted violent comments on blogTO.com under the alias “Kill Feminists”, encouraging the violent murders of feminists in sociology or women and gender studies classrooms at U of T. Toronto Police Services has since taken over the investigation and no word has been released on any possible suspects or leads.