Issue: A string of bomb threats have hit universities around the country.
The morning of Sept. 14 was a bit frightening for some of our colleagues around the country. Both North Dakota State University and the University of Texas at Austin’s campuses were evacuated following a pair of bomb threats. Later in the day, a third threat was received at Hiram College in Ohio, and on Sept. 17, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge received a bomb threat of its own. Thankfully, there were no actual bombs found, and the threats were either hoaxes or empty.
There is little information available on what motivated the threats and whether or not they were linked. As the F.B.I. and local authorities investigate the threats, we’ll learn more about what exactly caused this string of threats and whether there are any connections.
Perhaps most importantly, we as SDSU community members will learn more.
By all measures, SDSU’s administration paid very close attention to the bomb threat at NDSU, and the university is using the opportunity to take a look at SDSU’s policies and make adjustments if needed. That is probably the best response they can make in this situation, as bomb threats in our part of the country raise the antennae a little more.
SDSU is most likely not alone in taking the opportunity to remind its faculty and staff what to do in the event of a bomb threat. Nor is the administration alone in taking a look at how its threat assessment policy looks and would work in actual use. These are all good things and should be commended. But SDSU administration officials are not the only people who have lessons to learn.
These threats are a teachable moment for more than just university administrators. We students can learn from this as well. Whether or not there is an actual bomb, fire, tornado or other disaster about to descend on the university, when the campus alert system is used, we have to take it seriously.
Therein lies another lesson for students. Now may very well be the time to familiarize ourselves with the campus alert system and what we need to do when it is used. Much of that information can be found on http://www.sdstate.edu by searching for ‘safety and security.’ It’s not hard to find and could help save your life in the event that a disaster were to happen. Understand your individual situation and what you would potentially do if there’s a bomb threat and have some sort of contingency plan in place.
We must also take this time to realize that bomb threats are not in any way funny. Regardless of the motivations behind this latest run of bomb threats, crying wolf doesn’t help anyone. More than that, calling in a bomb threat, fake or real, is a felony and an act of terrorism.
Be aware. Our campus community should always be alert.
Stance: SDSU should be commended for having a plan in place and the university community would be well-served to learn from these national incidents.