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DPS, Providence Police find 'no evidence of a credible threat' following bomb threat against Muslim Student Center

Daily prayers canceled, iftar moved due to safety concerns

<p>DPS will add an “enhanced security presence” in the coming days and “throughout the month of Ramadan,” wrote Rodney Chatman, vice president for campus safety.</p><p></p>

DPS will add an “enhanced security presence” in the coming days and “throughout the month of Ramadan,” wrote Rodney Chatman, vice president for campus safety.

A caller contacted the Providence Police Department threatening to bomb the Muslim Student Center in Champlin Hall around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to a listserv email from the Brown Muslim Students Association, a community-wide email sent by the Department of Public Safety and a Providence Police incident report reviewed by The Herald.

A search of the building and nearby residence halls found “no evidence of a credible threat,” University Spokesperson Brian Clark wrote in an email to The Herald.

Upon receiving the call, PPD “alerted Brown’s Department of Public Safety,” Clark wrote.

Seven officers from DPS and the Providence Police Department responded at 2:27 a.m., according to the incident report. The suspect additionally expressed Islamophobic sentiments during the threat.

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After meeting with University law enforcement at the intersection of Cushing and Thayer streets, city and University officials continued to Champlin Hall to “check on the surrounding area inside the Muslim Center as well as to check the well-being (of) any students who may be inside,” according to the report.

There were approximately six students in the center when law enforcement arrived, according to Semaya Robinson ’25, who was in the building at the time.

PPD and DPS informed the students that the suspect’s voice “sounded like a younger person,” according to Robinson. She and those in the building were not informed about the anti-Islamic sentiment expressed in the call.

Enforcement officials “did an outside sweep of the perimeter of the building” with one of the unit’s police dogs, and “results were negative,” according to the incident report. Providence Police also conducted an exterior search of nearby residence halls, Clark wrote.

Officers found “no suspicious evidence,” wrote Rodney Chatman, vice president for campus safety, Sylvia Carey Butler, vice president for institutional equity and diversity, and Eric Estes, vice president for campus life, in the community-wide email.

According to Robinson, officials on the scene said that the threat was the only bomb threat in Providence during recent months that was “religious in nature.”

After conducting the search, “Brown DPS officers offered support to the students who were at the center, and investigation will continue,” Clark added.

One student on the scene who spoke to law enforcement after occupying the building for the past several hours with fellow members of the BMSA said she and her fellow students “had not heard anything or seen anyone unusual,” the incident report stated.

The threat came during the month of Ramadan, Islam’s most sacred month, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. “We don't want to see the beautiful month of Ramadan interrupted for students,” said Janet Cooper Nelson, chaplain of the University.

The BMSA canceled suhoor as well as the Fajr and Tahajjud prayers in the Student Center. Iftar, the evening meal during Ramadan, was hosted in an alternative location Thursday evening, according to Cooper Nelson.

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Close to one hundred students gathered to break fast, a larger crowd than usual, according to Cooper Nelson. After meeting with the BMSA executive board, Cooper Nelson said that they decided to host the meal in a central location “so everybody can get there easily.”

Leadership within BMSA and Amir Toft, associate chaplain of the University for the Muslim community, declined requests for comment.

DPS will add an “enhanced security presence” in the coming days and “throughout the month of Ramadan,” Chatman wrote. DPS has additionally requested extra patrols from Providence police.

“It is a grotesque affront to students to have their identities attacked,” Chatman said in an interview. “The safety and security of the entire campus is our utmost priority.”

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“We want their observances to be unfettered with worry and fear,” Cooper Nelson added. “I said to the students tonight, we love you.”

“We're definitely not gonna cower or back away,” Robinson said. “That is my home, and everyone in the Muslim Student Center and the larger Muslim community is my family.”

Students should reach out to DPS if they have information about the incident or any other helpful information, Chatman wrote.

Support resources for students

Brown Center for Students of Color (BCSC):

https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/students-of-color

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS):

https://www.brown.edu/campus-life/support/counseling-and-psychological-services

Global Brown Center for International Students (GBC):

https://www.brown.edu/globalbrowncenter

Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity – Resource List of Centers and Programs:

https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/institutional-diversity/resources/campus-resources-students-faculty-staff-and-alumni/centers-and-programs

Student Support Services:

https://www.brown.edu/offices/student-support/student-support-services

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Owen Dahlkamp

Owen Dahlkamp is a first-year student from San Diego, CA studying Cognitive Neuroscience and Political Science. In his free time, he enjoys creating spreadsheets at Dave's Coffee.



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