What we know so far about the bomb threat to UK’s White Hall


White Hall Classroom Building

Rick Childress

Editor’s note: The Kernel interviewed Haily Duvall for this story late on the night of Nov. 7 because editors had been led to believe she had received threats and had been one of the first to report them to police. Early on Nov. 8, Duvall was arrested for terroristic threatening 2nd degree and filing a false police report in connection with the threats to White Hall. 

Bomb threats made via social media against the UK campus were reportedly circulating digitally amongst UK students on Tuesday and were initially reported by concerned students.

The threats, reportedly made via Snapchat images with threatening captions, appear to have come throughout the day. Haily Duvall, a sophomore pre-nursing student, told the Kernel that she was one of the first to report the messages.

She first heard about the snaps at about 2:30 p.m. when she was on her way to a class at White Hall. Duvall said she overheard some other students talking about the threatening messages, and decided to view them on a location map on the Snapchat app that allows users to view snaps that have been posted in the area around White Hall. 

“White Hall is about to be white ashes along with every a**hole student in it,” one screenshot of the snaps read.

“Thirsty thursdays are about become ticking time bomb thursdays,” another screenshot of the Snapchats said. Additional screenshots that have also been spread by students included more vulgar and threatening language. 

After seeing the snaps, she alerted UKPD. Officers came and spoke with her about the messages. She said she’d been emailing the snaps to the department throughout the day on Wednesday. 

“I definitely haven’t gotten a lot of information back other than what’s been posted publicly to all UK students and faculty,” Duvall said. “I’m kind of in the blue about it which is not very reassuring for students because I know a lot students— I’m getting dozens of text messages, I’m in group chats with thousands of students— and it’s clear that a lot of these students are very concerned for their safety.” 

At 8 p.m., UK publicly announced via social media and campus-wide email that UKPD knew about the threat. The statement called the threats “unsubstantiated.” Security will be heightened around White Hall tomorrow, Nov. 8, but events and classes will proceed as normal. The statement said UK will keep the community informed about any additional developments.  

Duvall said she doesn’t have class Thursday, but does have to possibly come to campus for a makeup test and she said she “understands why students wouldn’t want to be on campus tomorrow.” She said that cancelling classes on the day would be a preventative measure that “would ease a lot of panic and would comfort a lot of students.” 

An additional Snapchat was posted around 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening, seemingly from the same account as the earlier Snapchats, after UK released its statement and the news spread among media outlets and social media. 

The Snapchat said, “Group chats. News channels. Twitter. Facebook… the fear has spread just as it should get ready p******.” 

At first, Duvall said she didn’t take the threats very seriously, but as the threats continued she began to pay more attention.

“You kind of have to at this point,” Duvall said. “It’s a safe or sorry thing. Would you rather ignore it, and then somebody get hurt? I definitely take it seriously. I’ve even encouraged fellow students, ‘Hey if you don’t feel safe, don’t go.'”

“Your life is worth more than 10 participation points,” she continued. “Or notes you can get from a fellow student. This should not be taken like a grain of salt; there should be some concern in this situation.”

UK tweeted at 11:19 p.m. on Thursday night, announcing that UKPD is continuing their investigation and that there is “no credible evidence regarding this threat.”

Duvall said that there are a lot of UK students who don’t agree with the university’s position to not cancel class, but she urged those students to take a moment to try and be in President Eli Capilouto’s shoes.

“He’s having to make a choice for thousands and thousands of students and faculty and I think that he clearly didn’t take that lightly,” she said. “I think he put a lot of thought into that. It may not be the decision that everyone makes but I don’t think he should be condemned for a decision that me or you or any other student wouldn’t want to be the deciding factor of.”

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: UK’s White Hall bomb threat

Bailey Vandiver and Lauryn Haas contributed reporting.