Authorities are investigating after at least two reports that suspicious emails were sent to members of the New College of Florida community.
Michael A. Kessie, chief of the Campus Police Department, said that on June 19, his department was notified of an email that “made people feel uncomfortable” and was “distasteful.” Police received a second report about another email on July 2, and “several more” since.
After receiving the second report, Kessie reached out to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the local joint-terrorism task force and explained the emails. He also called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to Kessie, they did not rise to the level of threat that would be considered criminal; however, they did open an investigation in an abundance of caution.
The emails, Kessie said, are being sent to New College alumni, faculty and staff.
Some of the emails look like they are “cut and paste” and police believe they could possibly be from the same person. However, Kessie said it is not known who is sending the emails.
There is no immediate threat to New College or the New College community, Kessie said. He added no one at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, which his department also patrols, has received similar emails.
The chief did not detail the contents of the message, but specified it was not a direct threat.
“It’s just unfortunate that members of the community are being subjected to this type of email,” said Ann Comer-Woods, director of communications and marketing for New College.
The school, like the police, feels there is no imminent threat to the New College community, Comer-Woods said. However, she encouraged anyone who receives emails using “distasteful language” to notify campus police.
The investigation, according to Kessie, has been handed over to the FBI.