Auburn cancels classes over alleged threat

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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University canceled classes Wednesday over a message found in a campus restroom threatening violence on the anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech University, school officials said.

Authorities had not substantiated any immediate safety threat, but police were still investigating, according to a university statement.

Officers increased visibility around the east Alabama campus of more than 25,000 students, and a city middle school was briefly locked down as a precaution before police gave an all-clear.

The university said it called off classes because of anxiety among parents and teachers over information circulated about the threatening message.

A university alert went out late Tuesday after the posts began spreading about the message on social media, and officials later called off classes.

"Reports late yesterday of a suspicious person on campus and a photo circulating on social media that connected the threat to the anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy raised legitimate concerns among the campus community," said Auburn spokesman Mike Clardy.

University police don't believe the alleged threat represented any danger, but the school increased security and suspended operations "out of an abundance of caution," Clardy said.

The shutdown came a day after the University of North Alabama, in Florence, said it was increasing police patrols because of a threat posted on social media to "shoot up the campus."

Police determined the threat was not credible but stationed more officers on campus as a precaution, officials said.

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