University advisory on disturbing YouTube postings
March 10, 2010
To the Virginia Tech Community:
Virginia Tech Police have been investigating several postings to the YouTube website from someone making numerous threats against the Virginia Tech community. University officials first became aware of these postings on Friday, March 5, when the writer attempted to post similar threats to the university’s main YouTube site. Since that time, YouTube administrators have deactivated the account from which the postings were originally made. However, the person has created additional accounts and continued to post harassing and threatening materials referencing Virginia Tech, as well as state and federal officials. The person has used several profile names referencing the Virginia Tech April 16th tragedy or that perpetrator.
Police are highly confident that the YouTube posts originate in Italy. Police are also confident that these posts originate from the same person who posted similar threats about which we apprised you last October.
Last night, March 9, threatening and harassing emails were received by four Virginia Tech students. Some of the emails also contained information about the students (such as home addresses and phone numbers) that was readily obtained from public sources. Each of the students who received threatening emails had been interviewed and identified in news media reporting on the October 2009 notice to the community. The emails appeared to be sent from either an AOL account or from a fictitious @vt.edu e-mail address. Police emphasize that the latter is NOT an actual Virginia Tech email address, but rather a false email address with a username referencing the perpetrator of the April 16 tragedy. Police are confident that the emails are coming from the same source as the YouTube postings and that all of those messages are originating from Italy.
Law enforcement authorities do not consider these posts or emails to constitute a threat to the university community at this time. However, due to the threatening and offensive nature of these posts, we believe it is important that the community be aware of the situation.
Virginia Tech Police are working actively with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal and state law enforcement agencies to monitor and address the threats. Police are also working to obtain assistance from law enforcement officials in Italy.
Virginia Tech Police recommend the following:
- If you receive any similarly suspicious or threatening email or social network posts, please contact VT Police and save any electronic files.
- Do not respond to any such emails.
- Avoid visiting or commenting on sites that contain threatening and harassing material.
- If you observe behaviors that cause you concern for your safety, or that of the community, contact the Virginia Tech Police.
- Use caution in posting personal information on profiles or social-networking sites.