Anita Sarkeesian, who attended graduate school in Canada and now works in the United States, was scheduled to give a presentation on the portrayal of women in video games on Wednesday evening. She made the decision to cancel Tuesday night.
University staff members had received a threat earlier Tuesday from an unknown person who vowed to carry out a mass shooting if the event was held. University spokesman Tim Vitale says the FBI told school officials the threat is consistent with ones Sarkeesian receives when she gives speeches elsewhere.
The university consulted with federal and state law enforcement and had determined it was safe to go ahead with the presentation.
But Sarkeesian pulled out after learning from university officials that concealed weapons would be permitted as long as attendees have a valid concealed firearm permit in accordance with Utah law.
"Requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah's open carry laws police wouldn't do firearm searches," Sarkeesian tweeted on Tuesday morning.
A later tweet emphasized that the University's response, rather than the threat itself, was the reason behind her withdrawal.
Sarkeesian has earned a reputation as a staunch feminist through her website Feminist Frequency, a video web series that examines the depiction of women in popular culture. Her website biography states that she completed a Master's of Social and Political Thought at Toronto's York University.
Sarkeesian found herself part of a Canadian controversy when an Ontario man reportedly created a videogame in which players were invited to throw punches at an image of her face.
Media reports said a Toronto-based feminist revealed that the game had been created by a man living in Ontario and tweeted against the game, and that this exposed her to threats.
--With files from The Canadian Press