Bomb incidents raise questions
November 1, 2007
On Oct. 27 the campus community endured yet another bomb scare. The incident, which occurred in May Hall, was the second bomb scare this semester and the third in the past four semesters.
The bomb threat last year was not handled ideally by UW-River Falls officials, who disregarded the bomb threat procedures listed in the university handbook by allowing people within 300 feet of a building that was feared to be housing a bomb.
In this latest bomb incident in May Hall it seems that once again this procedural rule once again may have been ignored as students could be seen sitting on the west steps of the Karges Gymnasium, which is well within 300 feet of May Hall.
But that is not nearly our biggest concern. First, information regarding this potential life-threatening situation was sparse at best. In evacuating the building and creating a scene, many community members became curious about the situation at May Hall. While police and administration may be concerned with causing a panic, wouldn’t it be better to inform citizens of the situation so they can maintain a safe distance rather than meandering around to see what’s going on?
At one point a Student Voice staff member contacted UWRF Public Safety to get information regarding the incident; the official would not relinquish any information. All that withholding information does is cause further confusion and start the spreading of rumors and causing more concern and panic.
Another major issue with the latest bomb threat deals with the bomb squad from Marathon County that was called in to assist with the situation. Marathon County is a two and a half hour drive from River Falls. If this had been a real bomb, which would be considered a life threatening situation, do we really have an extra couple of hours to sit around and wait for a bomb squad?
This is even more perplexing considering the fact that there are multiple bomb squads in the Twin Cities that could have just as easily assisted. Apparently the reason those squads couldn’t be used stems from insurance issues across state lines.
It’s disheartening to know that if this would have been a real bomb that it’s more important to follow proper insurance procedures, rather than looking out for the safety of the campus community and citizens of River Falls.
We feel that this latest incident, much like last year’s bomb scare, has exposed more holes in the way these situations are handled. This is not only something that university officials and local police should be looking into, but state and federal officials as well.