Hundreds of students went looking for a mysterious clown near North Campus late Monday night, but almost a full day later, there is still no confirmation that creepy clowns roaming UConn were anything more than a social media rumor.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the University of Connecticut Police Department (UCPD) has reported no clown-related arrests.
UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz tweeted Tuesday morning, “Rumor control: No overnight clown sightings confirmed at#UConn, never in lockdown. Just many clown-hunters who'll be very tired this A.M.”
Around 11 p.m. on Monday night, hundreds of students congregated near the New Storrs Cemetery armed with bats and other forms of DIY protection in reaction to photos and information about alleged sightings circulating Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook.
“There were two cops outside in the graveyard,” North Campus resident Annie Rose said. “There were so many people around.”
Northwest Residence Halls resident Kyle Trocki said police officers were telling the gatherers to leave the cemetery or get charged with trespassing.
“I saw a group of people running down the (cemetery’s) hill and then heading to Towers (Residence Halls),” Trocki said.
Other social media rumors mentioned clowns roaming Towers.
“I was scared for 10 minutes, then I saw it was fake,” Busby Suites resident Emily Hayes said. “I think people are changing the geotags from photos other schools.”
Some students were looking to hunt the clowns, Hayes said.
“There were lots of people with golf clubs and baseball bats,” Hayes said.
“We locked our door,” Courtney Ho, another Busby resident and Hayes’ roommate, said.
UConn deputy spokesperson Tom Breen advised students to be skeptical of the rumors.
“Students, faculty, staff, and visitors should also use their good judgment and common sense when it comes to unverified reports circulating on social media, particularly regarding something getting as much national attention as the clown reports are receiving right now,” Breen said in an email.
Clown sightings started surfacing across the U.S., over the summer in North Carolina and spread steadily to South Carolina, upstate New York, Connecticut and more. Hoaxes and copycats have also surfaced, prompting suspicion.
Earlier on Monday, schools in New Haven, North Haven and Naugatuck were on alert following threatening Instagram posts involving clowns, WTNH reported.
UConn is not the only university to have alleged clown sightings. The State University of New York at Cortland, Merrimack College and the University of New Hampshire all reported claims of clown sightings on Mon., October 3.
However, many of these sightings proved false. According to The Boston Globe, a dormitory at Merrimack College was evacuated Monday night after a false report about an armed clown in a residence hall surfaced on Twitter. Students were told to remain inside.
In an announcement sent to students and staff at SUNY Cortland, university officials explained that rumors of clown sightings on the campus were not true, according to CNYCentral.
At Penn State, The Daily Collegian followed thousands of students chanting and gathering as they reacted to alleged clown sightings, though the police had no confirmation of any clowns on campus.
“That wasn’t an evil clown on UConn’s campus last night,” Reitz tweeted early Tuesday. “That was me with some questionable makeup and wardrobe decisions. My bad.”
That wasn't an evil clown on UConn's campus last night. That was me with some questionable makeup and wardrobe decisions. My bad.— Stephanie Reitz (@ReitzTweets) October 4, 2016