Oh, the humanity.

Two selections from the email messages distributed campus-wide this week appear below. I am particularly pleased that we both provide a boatload of practical information about how the University responds to a bomb threat (if you can detonate within 15 minutes, people will still be inside; if you can take out the single dog, you can shut down a facility for a long time; even if you don’t take out the dog, you can count on 3 hours to clear; if you’re trying to figure out how many officers you can deal with, be sure to include administrative staff; and city personnel will just stand around and wait to see if something blows up) and that we also “simply cannot tolerate” ski masks. Especially in 43F rainy weather.

To all faculty, staff and students,

In the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech University, I know there is heightened concern about safety and security on our own campus. For that reason, I’m writing to let you know the details of an incident that happened this morning. Although it involved a bomb threat, I am pleased to report that University of Iowa Police have been able to discount that threat. Here are the essential details:

* At 7:57 a.m., UI Police were notified that the Hardin Health Sciences Library had received a series of e-mails stating that a bomb had been left there. As a result, that building was immediately evacuated. All personnel were out of the building by 8:12 a.m.

* UI Police responded with both uniformed officers and administrative staff, including J.T. Egli, our bomb technician, who was accompanied by “ARO,” the department’s explosives detection dog. They conducted a floor-by-floor search of the library.

* In the meantime, the Iowa City Fire Department staged its equipment at Westlawn so that its personnel could respond immediately if needed.

* Jessup Hall, the administration building on the UI Pentacrest, also was locked down during the Hardin Library search. There was no imminent threat to Jessup Hall, but the decision was made to lock it because it is the campus “nerve center,” has been targeted in the past, and there had been a request by an administrative office within the building for the lockdown.

* Hardin Library was cleared at 10:54 a.m. and reopened at 11:02 a.m. Officials at Jessup Hall were notified and those offices re-opened shortly after 11 a.m.

* The incident remains under investigation.

As President Gary Fethke has explained in recent e-mails, we constantly analyze our safety and security response systems. In the wake of the Virginia Tech incident, we are putting a much higher priority on those efforts. I am sure that there are lessons to be learned from todays incident as well.

Sincerely, Charles Green, Associate Vice President and Director of UI Police

To members of the University community,

We are sending you this news release to keep you informed about safety and security incidents on campus.

University of Iowa News Release

April 26, 2007

UI Police Question Student After Classroom Incident

University of Iowa Police took an undergraduate student into custody and questioned him following an incident in a classroom today over the noon hour. As of mid-afternoon, police were still reviewing the possibility of filing charges following consultation with the Johnson County Attorney’s office.

The student held for questioning is Justin Walker, a junior from Hazel Crest, Ill. His local address is 1546 Fifth Street, Coralville.

According to UI Police, the student entered the auditorium in Macbride Hall wearing a hooded jacket. When he sat down and took down his hood, he was wearing a ski mask that covered his face. He did not remove the ski mask. That action led another student to leave the room and call police just after noon.

UI Police responded immediately and called Iowa City Police for backup. Officers from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department also assisted at the scene.

Walker apparently left Macbride Hall during that time, but he returned later and was recognized by officers on the scene. He was questioned first at the scene and later taken to UI Police Department headquarters at 12:57 p.m.

Phillip Jones, UI Vice President for Student Services, praised all the law enforcement officers for their quick response.

“We are pleased that this incident ended well, he said. The student who called the police immediately did the right thing, and police followed the appropriate procedure by responding immediately with sufficient numbers to conduct an investigation expeditiously.”

“Given the circumstances of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech University, we simply cannot tolerate actions that even appear to be threatening,” Jones added.


Posted in Legacy by Matt at April 26th, 2007.

Comments are closed.