COD evacuates due to bomb threat

Kelly Wynne, News Editor

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College of DuPage dealt with a bomb threat on Monday, Oct. 5. The threat came just hours after the school held a moment of silence and day-long banner signing for Umpqua Community College, which fell to tragedy last week.

The threat was received just before 6 p.m. when COD a campus police officer answered a phone call detailing that a number of backpacks had been left around campus with explosives. The school was evacuated shortly after.

Many students left their belongings behind, thinking the alarm was nothing but a routine fire drill. It was not until students were outside that they realized the interruption was more serious.

All registered to COD’s emergency system received brief texts and phone calls explaining that there was a threat on campus around 7 p.m. Just before 10:30 p.m., subscribers received a follow-up notification that campus would operate during it’s normal hours on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

COD police as well as the Glen Ellyn department searched the school with a bomb-sniffing dog team. Nothing was found and the incident passed as a false alarm.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Frank Napolitano, board trustee, explained that it is necessary to be overly cautious. Those who spoke with press and police all seemed to agree.

Acting Interim President Joseph Collins felt that the college took all necessary precautions at the time of the incident. “Based on the occurrence last week in Oregon, I believe our response was appropriate,” said Collins. “While the inconvenience for many of our staff and students was an issue, first and foremost we have to be concerned about everyone’s safety.”

Many students who attended school on Tuesday reported feeling on edge after being notified of the prior night’s events.

COD student Rachel Arnold commented that just the sound of a routine tornado siren test made her nervous and uneasy. “They should have closed school today,” said Arnold.

Brittany Vandergrift agreed with Arnold’s statement, adding “What’s gonna stop someone from bringing the same backpack in today.”

COD student Karina Procopio also felt unsettled knowing that COD is a public campus. “It’s so open,” said Procopio. “Anyone can come in.”

Joseph Moore, vice president of marketing and communications, sent out an email to all students and faculty Tuesday morning detailing the event and providing support to those who felt threatened.

“Fortunately, last night’s threat was determined to be a hoax, but we will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our students and employees,” said Moore in an email.”Keeping our campus a safe place for everyone is the utmost concern of our COD Police Department.  We will continue to evaluate our existing emergency operations plan and work to communicate this information to the college community.”

Collins and the COD police department have taken this event seriously and will continue to brainstorm ways to keep the college safe.

“We will conduct a debriefing with the Police Department to see what improvements we can make in our response to the bomb threat.”

Moore’s email also included that anyone having trouble dealing with the incident can visit with a counselor on campus. Counselors will be available on a drop-in basis Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

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