On November 1, 2014 a disgruntled individual posted an anonymous open letter to Craigslist addressing UW students. The motivation behind the post was to send a message to students regarding noise in the library. After expressing his apparent frustration and resentment toward UW student saying, “ u certainly aren’t above the rules just cuz you attend UW and others don’t,” the tangent concludes with “I’m just gonna start shooting you worthless fucks and do the world a huge favor. You’ve been warned.”
Although police have not stated how the threat was brought to their attention, social media and technology played a major role in the arrest of 32-year-old Derek Grube the following Monday evening. With the help of UW-IT, the Seattle Police Department was able to track the device the man used to make his post to Craigslist. The suspect was then located and arrested inside the Social Work/Speech and Hearing Sciences Building on the UW Seattle campus.
On November 2, only one day after the anonymous post in the Craigslist “Rant and Raves” section, the suspects tangent began to make waves across several social media sites. In the r/udub and r/Seattle subsections on the social networking site Reddit.com, one individual reblogged a picture of the Craigslist post to warn other students about the threat. In the warning post to Reddit, the individual cited the University of Washington facebook group Free & For Sale as the initial whistleblowers. The University of Washington’s Black Student Union also reblogged the post shortly thereafter. Since then all posts to Facebook have been removed.
As I spoke with Director of Campus Safety & Security Susan Wagshul-Golden, she overviewed how UWT campus security and safety responds to emergencies on campus stating, “It depends on the eminence of the threat and the source.” Because the threat was non-specific, all three branches of the University of Washington were notified and went into crisis response. Library staff were made aware of the threat as well as the Tacoma Police Department. Emails were then sent out to the remaining students, faculty and staff.
The Campus Safety and Security Department at the University of Washington Tacoma is comprised of the Director of Campus Safety & Security, a Program Coordinator, two Campus Safety Sergeants, and eleven Campus Security Officers. Campus security is available 24/7 so in case you need assistance on campus, to the right are a few tips to help you get the quickest and best response.