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UNC Asheville campus locked down after threats about Black Lives Matter mural

The University of North Carolina (UNC) Asheville locked down its campus on Friday after the school said multiple offices received threatening emails demanding the removal of a Black Lives Matter mural. 

UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable said over the weekend that a “shelter in place” order was issued at the campus on early Friday after the school was targeted “for having a Black Lives Matter mural on [its] campus.”

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“As all of us know, there are those that see our commitment to racial justice, our support for our students of color, our intention to raise awareness of history and to reject the ongoing violence against Black and other people of color in this country so problematic as to threaten violence against us,” she said in a campus alert.

“We want to recognize that this is, indeed, difficult for us all, and this is particularly challenging and stressful for our student leaders who created the Black Lives Matter mural, and those who have actively (and in many cases publicly) vocalized their support for Black Lives Matter activities, and those whose identities are linked to this work. It is clear that the emotional toll of days like yesterday have had— and will continue to have— a differential impact on members of our community,” Cable said. 

“We are working to create opportunities for all of us to process these events and to move forward, including actions that are focused on supporting all of our students, including the particular needs of our Black and Brown students in this moment,” she continued.

According to The Blue Banner, a student-run newspaper at the school, the Black Lives Matter mural had been painted on campus by students earlier this month. The mural reportedly went up during the school’s “Student Rights Week.”  

Cable said on Saturday that shelter in place order was lifted later on Friday “in consultation with the federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities.”

“The investigation related to the communication we received remains ongoing with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and we will provide updates as additional information is available and appropriate to share,” she said in the message to students, staff and faculty. 

She also called the campus to “be on the lookout” in the coming days for more information as the school works "to deploy the best supportive strategies possible to manage this moment, its implications and impact.”