At Temple, Anxious Students but Cautious Normalcy in Face of Monday Threat

"I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty scared,” said Monica Lingel, freshman.

A Temple University Police Bike Officer stands guard at the Bell Tower, the epicenter of campus, earlier this morning. Photo | Rob DiRienzo

A Temple University Police Bike Officer stands guard at the Bell Tower, the epicenter of campus, earlier this morning. Photo | Rob DiRienzo

Temple University is among the handful of universities in the region treading cautiously today following threats of a “Beta uprising” on the anonymous message board 4chan.

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty scared,” said Monica Lingel, a freshman. “Usually I listen to music, but not today. I’m just trying to be more aware for my morning class, then I’ll just go home early. I wasn’t really worried about this kind of thing until the Oregon shooting.”

There was a slight increase in the presence of Temple University Police, with a bike cop stationed right by the Bell Tower, what is considered the heart of campus. A few police cars were parked around campus as well.

Students posted on YikYak early this morning that they feared for their life:

Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone sent out an email to students last night in an effort to quell the anxiety, reading in part:

“I am sure many of you have safety concerns, and I wanted to let you know that we hear you. I also want to emphasize that we have received no information that there is a specific threat here at Temple.”

The post in question threatened that “on October 5, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. CT, a fellow robot will take up arms against a university near Philadelphia,” as part of the beginning of the “Beta Rebellion.” The post continues, “his cries will be heard, his victims will cower in fear, and the strength of the Union will decay a little more.” Read a screenshot of the thread here.

To fill you in on the lingo: a robot, or “beta,” is a male who feels as if they are powerless outcasts in a world where “alpha males” and women come out on top. The arch rival of the robot is his counterpart, the “normie,” who, although is boring, can navigate the societal conditions (i.e. attracting women) which “robots experience as fucked-up and unfair,” Gawker explains.

The night before the Oregon shooting, a posting on 4chan read, “Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest[sic].” While the FBI has confirmed they are investigating it, it’s unclear whether or not that was in connection to the actual shooting.

While some students were on edge, university staff seemed more wary than worried.

“We deal with this kind of thing all the time,” said Temple University president Neil Theobald, bike helmet in hand walking across campus to his office. “Unfortunately, it looks like a copycat posting and I worry the more attention we give these kind of things the more you just encourage the same kind of thing. Really there’s nothing new to this.”

LeAnne Finnigan, librarian at the Paley Library, agreed — it’s just trolls being trolls.

“I read the post on 4chan. I mean, there are a lot of trolls on the internet. I don’t feel threatened at all,” Finnigan said on her way into work. “I don’t know. I think it’s just someone trying to get out of their homework or something.”

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