In recent days, reports of clowns around campus have sparked an uncomfortable feeling among students at Augustana. With hopes to inform our community on what is actually happening regarding clowns and to help put some rumors to rest, the Observer is sharing these five facts about what is happening regarding the Quad City clown scare.
1.) The “clown crisis” is a nationwide scare that has gone viral in the media and online. Few threats in communities across the country have been valid. Most of the time, it is just someone trying to scare others. In recent days, The Quad Cities and Augustana have joined the long list of communities across the country dealing with reports of “creepy clowns” in town and on college campuses. Each report is taken seriously and investigated.
2.) No individuals dressed as clowns have been arrested near the Augustana College campus this week, according to the Rock Island Police Department.
3.) Dressing as a clown is NOT illegal, but doing so to scare, intimidate or threaten people could lead you to getting in trouble. In addition, trespassing is also against the law.
4.) Walking around campus “clown hunting” with items to use as weapons (including pledge paddles, knives, baseball bats, etc.) is against student conduct policy and could result in disciplinary action.
5.) While the concerns are serious, rumors only add to fear, so check your sources before sharing information with friends and on social media. Today, the Davenport Police Department tweeted, “Many of these reported clown sightings have little to no evidence establishing their legitimacy, but it is fueling a clown panic nationwide.” Additionally The Office of Public Safety and Police has released a statement via email to the campus community that explains what to do if you see something suspicious.
What to do about “creepy clowns”- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.
— Davenport IA Police (@DavenportPolice) October 6, 2016
The statement says that if you see something suspicious or feel that you are in danger “immediately call Augustana Public Safety and Police at 309-794-7711. If you are off campus, call 911.”
The statement also says that the Rock Island Police and Office of Public Safety and Police had received reports of individuals dressed as clowns in recent days, and that they will continue to investigate those reports seriously.
In no way should these concerns be taken lightly, and it is reassuring to know that investigations are taken seriously. However, rumors and hoaxes only add to the fear that many students fear.
If a serious threat arises, the campus will be notified via e2campus text message and through an email.