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Apparently some Catholic University of America (CUA) students have been barricading their doors in preparation for an invasion this Halloween weekend. Rumors have been circulating that blood-thirsty gang MS-13 will be marauding the campus soon, looking to assault co-eds as part of a depraved initiation rite!

But according to an e-mail sent out by CUA Director of Public Safety Thomasine Johnson, there’s no need to worry—the kids are just being paranoid.

I am writing to inform the Catholic University community that recent rumors of an alleged attack by MS-13 gang members on Catholic University students this coming weekend are absolutely false. The rumors allege that gang members are planning to assault several CUA female students as an initiation rite.

These rumors are urban legends. The Department of Public Safety has been in contact with the Intelligence Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department, which has also confirmed that the rumors are baseless. DPS believes the rumors were sparked by speculation about graffiti on Spellman Hall that reads “2013.” According to the rumors, 2013 is linked to MS-13. In fact, this is not a gang tagging. It is simply graffiti, perhaps left by a member of the Class of 2013.

DPS will remain in contact with the Metropolitan Police Department about this matter. As always, DPS will maintain patrols on campus all weekend.

Campus rumor mills are good at producing the outlandish, but this seems to go beyond the usual. (2013 somehow becomes an MS-13 tag? Come on.) The outsized rumor is probably a manifestation of the anxiety students may be feeling about being located on a posh and privileged campus located in the not-always-so-posh and privileged neighborhood of Brookland, where muggings and shootings happen a little too frequently.

So relax, Catholic students! (But do remember—locking your dorm room door is always a good way to keep the kid down the hall from walking off with your iPad.)

Photo by JaredFrazer Creative Commons license