University professor gets threatening voicemail

The call, made early Friday morning, could be untraceable.

Jessica Lee

A University of Minnesota professor spearheading an effort to cancel Condoleezza Rice’s campus visit received a threatening voicemail on his office line early Friday.

William Messing reported a terroristic threat to University police Monday afternoon, according to a University police report.

Upon initial contact, the mathematics professor gave law enforcement officials the wrong phone number — a Minnesota Daily reporter’s desk line — as the source of the call. The reporter had called Messing on March 28 to interview him for a story on Rice’s visit, and he had called back on March 31.

According to University police officer Jason Tossey, who is investigating the case, the unidentified speaker in Friday’s phone call said “I think you should be waterboarded in the future.”

“It definitely caused the professor some fear,” Tossey said.

Tossey confirmed Monday afternoon that the call didn’t originate from a Minnesota Daily office line and said that Messing had accidentally given police the wrong number.

A statement is considered a criminal threat if it declares immediate action, according to Minnesota statute. Tossey said the incident doesn’t meet those guidelines. He said the caller may be untraceable, and he will likely deactivate the case by
Wednesday.

Messing sponsored a failed resolution to the University Senate last week, requesting the Humphrey School of Public Affairs revoke Rice’s April 17 speaking invitation.