Bomb threat on campus raises alarm and concerns about emergency procedures

Police are investigating a bomb threat on campus. Lacking an effective communication system, students, faculty and staff must piece together information from the College's twitter page and some Cougar Alerts. (Photo by Olivia Cohen)

Police are investigating a bomb threat on campus. Lacking an effective communication system, students, faculty and staff must piece together information from the College’s twitter page and some Cougar Alerts. (Photo by Olivia Cohen)

Tuesday morning, students at the College of Charleston were sent a Cougar Alert stating that there was a bomb found on campus. A subsequent tweet from the College of Charleston stated that “a bomb has NOT been found on campus,” contradicting their initial message.

Charleston city police cleared Tate, Beatty and J.C. Long around 11 a.m. Craig and Liberty are also closed. The police are partnering with College of Charleston’s Public Safety Department to investigate the threat.

“It’s pretty crazy,” CofC  junior Blair Healey said. “I’m just waiting for the bomb squad to show up.”  Healey was on the first floor of Tate when a police officer  sporting an AR-15 came through the door and told students to leave the building and go at least one block away.

This type of vague instruction points to the larger issues of a lack of specific procedures for campus members to follow during an emergency and an inefficient system for disseminating crucial information. The bomb threat has created chaos throughout campus as students, faculty and staff piece together information from sparse Cougar Alerts and the College’s twitter page.

However, these messages remain unclear and often unheard. Major buildings on campus including Maybank, Bellsouth and Robert Scott Small were not even officially evacuated or informed of the proceedings as some classes elected to self-evacuate.

College of Charleston’s latest tweets read that there is nothing new to report and reiterate that no bomb has been found. The latest Cougar Alert tells students to check cofc.edu for more information, but the website makes no mention of the threat.

Students are left to fend for themselves and to continually check twitter for information, as the College has not sent out a Cougar Alert for almost two hours.

The lack of information extends down to the most basic function of a school as students are left with no idea if they have classes for the rest of the day. “We’re definitely not having classes,” Healey predicted. An official decision about classes has not yet been made.

In light of the recent shootings at University of South Carolina, students are on edge and taking the threat as seriously as they can without further information.

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