MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University was closed today because of an anonymous threat received early this morning.
Effects of the threat rippled outward from the NMU campus, resulting in the closure of all Marquette Area Public Schools.
According to Cindy Paavola, NMU director of communications and marketing, the unspecified threat would have caused harm to students but it was unknown what part of campus it would impact. More information will be released as it becomes available throughout the day, Paavola said.
Marquette Senior High School students were evacuated at 9:30 a.m this morning after Northern Michigan University posted that the campus closed 'due to a serious threat it … received.' There was no further information as of now. Police are investigating the situation. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
Troopers from the Michigan State Police Negaunee Post said NMU Public Safety told them they were responding in a cautious way by closing down the university.
Marquette Senior High School was also placed on lockdown as a precaution, according to Marquette Area Public School Board President Tony Retaskie. There was no separate threat to the school.
"In this day and age you have to make sure you are doing the right thing. We're just making sure that our students are safe. You have to take everything like this seriously," he said.
Superintendent Deborah Veiht said that all MAPS students were released by 10:40 a.m. this morning on the advice of the Marquette City Police. Marquette Police Chief Mike Angeli said, however, the decision to close the schools and dismiss students was made by the school district and not the police department. All staff were sent home as well. The district was also being extremely cautious by walking students to buses, only allowing one child to be picked up at a time and not allowing anyone to come into the buildings, Veiht said.
Students from both Father Marquette Elementary and Middle Schools were also sent home this morning, as well as students from North Star Academy.
Marquette General Hospital, adjacent to the NMU campus, was in "lockdown" mode this morning. Five entrances were open for patients and other business, which were being monitored by security personnel. All other entrances were closed.
Tim Rosochacki, an NMU senior from South Lyon, was getting ready for class this morning when he found out something was going on through both a text message and an e-mail from campus authorities.
"All the message said was it was a serious threat," said Rosochacki, who's majoring in environmental conservation. "I was in the middle of getting ready for class. I had just woke up."
Rosochacki was supposed to be heading out from his off-campus apartment for a weather and climate class when he received word the campus was closed.
NMU's interm Sports Information Director Calvin Larson said he was in his office this morning when Associate Director of Operations Steve Reed told employees to leave campus, closing the athletic department offices on one of the busier days of the year, National Signing Day for college football players.
Bridget Berube, the NMU assistant athletic director, was also told to leave campus. She had all incoming faxes from recruits forwarded to her personal computer and is working Wednesday from home.
NMU hockey coach Walt Kyle used the closure to drop his kids off at school this morning.