Lockdown at Marist College in New York after online threat

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marist College, a small private school 84 miles (135 km) north of New York City, canceled classes and ordered a lockdown on Friday because of an online, anonymous posting that threatened a shooting on campus, a Marist spokesman said.

The Poughkeepsie Police Department was investigating the threat, which was posted on Twitter overnight, said Greg Cannon, a spokesman for Marist, a liberal arts college with about 6,400 students.

"It was something about a shooting, that there would be some kind of shooting on campus," Cannon said.

He said there were no racial overtones to the threat, setting it apart from threats at other U.S. colleges after racial turmoil at the University of Missouri, where three men were under arrest for threatening to shoot black people. On Thursday, messages were posted online threatening to murder students at Howard University, a historically black college in Washington.

After conferring with local police, Marist sent an alert to students, faculty and staff at about 7 a.m. on Friday, canceling classes and telling students to remain in their dorms on lockdown.

Cannon said police in Poughkeepsie, a town along the Hudson River midway between New York City and Albany, were working to identify the Twitter user who posted the threat.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)