ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Ouachita Baptist University confirmed Monday that a student is in custody after school officials said writings were shown to other students with alleged threats.
OBU Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. Keldon Henley shared a statement Monday in which campus authorities claimed they learned a student had reportedly shown writings to other students that caused alarm.
The statement said that campus police investigated and facilitated the arrest of the student, who is currently in custody in Saline County.
“The individual has been suspended from Ouachita and, when no longer in custody, will not be permitted on university property,” Henley said in the statement. “The safety of Ouachita’s campus community is of paramount importance.”
Henley declined to give the name of the student due to privacy purposes, and the email sent to students Monday morning also did not include a name, students say.
However, a few on campus who did not want to go on camera referenced a Snapchat message with the alleged threats they say the student sent before the arrest.
According to them, the message listed more than a dozen students and a few faculty members, detailing plans to kill each one. The threats allegedly ranged from shootings and stabbings to pushing them off a cliff or hitting them on Interstate 30.
The Benton Police Department confirmed this is part of their investigation.
Students Haley Shourd and Cabb Batson told KARK 4 News they were shocked to read what had played out over the weekend.
“When I looked at the email it kind of took me aback for a second because typically the hardest emails are the ones you don’t understand,” Shourd said, adding that she wished the student had reached out for help or utilized campus counseling services prior to the writings.
Shourd also said the focus for the university and its students now should be preventing it in the future.
Batson said students on campus immediately started asking each other about the situation Monday after receiving the email and were concerned.
“It was definitely a surprise to think that that would happen in such a close-knit community like Ouachita,” he said.
Shourd also said the focus for the university now should be preventing anything similar in the future.
“There are always going to be people that are struggling, if it’s a faith-based university or not,” she said. “It’s up to us to look at it from a different angle and take care of the students we still have here so something like this won’t happen again.”
Police were not able to comment on the case because the investigation is ongoing. Authorities said the arrested student is facing a terroristic threatening charge, which is a class D felony. Authorities said the student has not yet appeared before a judge and does not have a bond set.