By SELENE SAN FELICE & BIANCA LOPEZ
Production Editor, Managing Editor
Campus Safety is searching a person who was reportedly dressed as a clown outside of Austin Hall based on a video sent to students tonight. Instagram accounts are now also surfacing with claims of clowns on campus. It is unclear who took the original video or created the Instagram accounts.
Campus safety has received multiple calls since the reported sighting around 11 p.m. on Oct. 3 and have started a campus-wide search. Reports have only been made from students who have seen the clown video, but no actual clown sighting was reported on campus.
Campus safety says they will continue the search until all avenues are exhausted or they find a clown. They are advising students to stay inside and to report any information they have on the situation.
Brianna Robinson, a junior political science major and Resident Assistant in Austin Hall, was on duty when residents approached concerned about the clown sighting.
“Well, a bunch of kids ran into Austin saying the clown was at the library,” Robinson said. “A bunch of kids ran out the back door with baseball bats to go clown hunting.”
UT Update: No clowns but tons of student out ‘Clown Hunting’ #UTampa #GoSpartans 😂 💉 pic.twitter.com/D9Un5VUz52
— u cute, thats y i (@ThatEmely) October 4, 2016
During midnight rounds, Brianna Robinson says she heard the sound of a clown horn.
An instagram account called ut_clows has also surfaced with one photo captioned “Watch out bitches we here yo.” The photo is of two people dressed as IT style clowns holding a giant hammer and what appears to be an axe.
The instagram account utampa_clowns was created shortly after, posting a stock photo of a clown with the caption “Did someone say clowns?” The user tagged the photo location as the University of Tampa Boathouse.
Clowns have been spotted frequently across the nation this summer including multiple sightings in South Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, New York, Texas and Florida. Other campus across the country, such as Merrimack College in Massachusetts, University of New Hampshire and University of Connecticut have enacted lockdowns due to clown sightings on Oct 3. The Merrimack College and University of Connecticut clown sightings were later found out to be hoaxes.
Merrimack College advised to shelter in place. Suspicious person dressed as a clown may be armed. Await further instruction from college.
— The Beacon (@MCBeacon) October 4, 2016
Stay with the Minaret for updates online, on Twitter @The_Minaret and on Facebook at facebook.com/UTMinaret.
Selene San Felice and Bianca Lopez can be reached at Selene.email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE (Oct. 4 12:23 p.m.): The Office of the Dean of Students has advised “If you hear rumors of a clown hoax on campus please do not get involved in this fad. Avoid dressing up as a clown or going out in groups in search of clowns.” Students are directed to report information to Campus Safety and Silent Witness.