October 15, 2014

A feminist writer and critic of video games has canceled a scheduled talk at a Utah university after learning that the school would allow firearms where she was speaking despite receiving an anonymous mass shooting threat.

Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to speak on the depiction of women in video games at Utah State University in Logan Wednesday morning. However, on Tuesday, the university received an anonymous e-mail from someone claiming to be a student at the university who threatened to carry out a mass shooting if the event was held.

University spokesman Tim Vitale says the FBI told school officials the threat was consistent with ones Sarkeesian receives when she gives speeches elsewhere.

The university consulted with federal and state law enforcement and had determined it was safe to go ahead with the presentation.

A university statement said that Sarkeesian asked if guns would be permitted at the venue where she was speaking and was informed that they would be, in compliance with the state’s open carry law passed in 2004.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Sarkeesian tweeted that she requested that the school install metal detectors or require officers to search people as they entered the venue. The paper reported that the school offered to increase security and ban backpacks from the venue, but would not ban guns. In response, Sarkeesian decided to cancel her scheduled appearance.

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