In a series of emails sent to all Spectator staff, the newspaper's leadership urged staffers not to enter the office, following a threat by a convicted felon.
Last Thursday, an email sent to staff informed them that the office would be "temporarily closed, effective immediately," and that the circumstances were "extremely serious." The email told staff that attempts to enter the building would cause "a huge amount of trouble," and to wait for more information before using the office.
An email sent earlier today provided more details, saying that a convicted felon had threatened Spec because of an article written about him in the 1970s. The incident was reported to city police and public safety, and an investigation is currently ongoing. The email did not name the suspect.
Now, Capital New York has reported more details on the situation. According to Capital, Daniel Mingues, who had been indicted for manslaughter (but convicted for robbery, as part of a plea deal) in a case involving the death of a Columbia law professor, approached and threatened Columbia employees working in the building last Tuesday.
Though Spec does not publish regularly during the summer, full-time hired staff still use the office, according to a source close to the publication. According to another (unverified) source, a security guard had been temporarily posted outside the office. Requests for more information made to the university and Public Safety were not answered at post time.
Read the email to Spec staff below.
Last week we emailed you to let you know that the Spec office building was closed. While Columbia operations in the building have continued following the holiday weekend, we are keeping the Spec office closed for the time being.
A convicted felon who is considered dangerous has made threats against Spec because of an article the paper published about him in the 1970s. We don't feel that it's safe for anyone to be in the office as the cops pursue the suspect. This is a serious situation, but I don't want any of you to be concerned for your safety. We are working with Columbia Public Safety and the police to rectify this situation, and we will let you know when it is safe to use the office again.
Please feel free to reach out to [redacted] with any questions or concerns.