Thursday, November 3, 2011

Second lockdown, bomb threat plague campus

By Amelia Heath, Guest Writer

Halloween week presented more scares than usual as Pacific Lutheran University had both its second lockdown of the 2011-2012 academic year and a bomb threat.

History professor Adam Cathcart sits against the wall in adarkened Xavier 250 Monday after his Revolutionary China class was interrupted by the lockdown. The lockdownlasted from 2:40-2:50 p.m. Photo by Kevin Knodell
Campus went into a lockdown early Monday afternoon. The first lockdown of the school year occurred Sept. 23 just before 12:30 p.m. when a gunshot was heard off-campus.

According to a release sent to students from the Office of the President, an off-campus incident predicated the lockdown. Officers with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department arrested a suspect near the 400 block of Wheeler Street South for assault with a weapon.

Campus Safety and Information sent the initial email alerting campus of the lockdown at 2:40 p.m. and sent another email cancelling the lockdown at 2:50 p.m.

Junior Emily Branch said she was in the University Center when she received an alert from Campus Safety via text message. Branch said she was not concerned about the lockdown and “it didn’t seem like anyone else was.”

Sophomore Hannah Kreutz said she was in her dorm room during the lockdown.

“I didn’t know until my roommate came in because I didn’t get the text message,” Kreutz said. “She was kind of panicked so that made me kind of panic.”

First-year Thomas Kim was outside of the UC when the doors locked. He said that as soon as he saw the emergency lights flashing he “tried to get in but it [the door] was locked.”

“A man opened the back door of Ramstad and said, ‘Get inside, this isn’t a drill,’” Kim said. “So I kind of freaked out and I tried to get her [the concierge] to let me in but she wouldn’t so I sat outside and waited for the lockdown to be over.”

Scares continued after Halloween passed.

The PLU Student Life Office sent an email Wednesday informing the PLU community of “graffiti discovered … on a campus restroom stall threatening the bombing of non-specific campus buildings at 1 p.m. on Thursday, November third.”

The release did not name in which building the graffiti had been found.

Junior Luke Hodson said, “It’s probably not true, but … a bomb’s not really something you can joke around with.”

Campus Safety collaborated with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and determined the threat to be “not credible,” as explained in the email to students.

Campus Safety began conducting its own investigation of the incident. According to the release sent to students, Campus Safety will “pursue persons responsible to the fullest disciplinary action under the law, the student code of conduct, and employee disciplinary policies.”

Sophomore Brianna Walling said she “didn’t understand how they can not know a person is credible” when deciding if the bomb threat is legitimate.

Campus Safety Director Greg Premo could not be reached for comment.