Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The College received two more bomb threats recently, one of Friday, September 7th and one on Monday September 10th. The threats came in the form of several identical e-mails from the same source as the previous bomb threat – which had been tracked as being sent through servers in Europe. Unlike the previous threat which was very vague the one received on the 6th named the Lang Center as a specific target.
Dean Jim Larimore first heard of the threat at 10:52 AM; by 11:30 AM the threat had been investigated by Public Safety and determined to be false. Director of Public Safety Owen Redgrave said that Public Safety evacuated the Lang Center for a short time and briefly interviewed those inside. Public Safety also kept all cars and pedestrians away from the building while it was searched. Public Safety also visited other buildings bearing Lang’s name and asked people there to look out for suspicious packages or individuals.
At 11:30 Associate Vice President for Facilities and Services Stu Hain sent an awareness bulletin to the college community informing everyone of the threat. The e-mail said that other colleges had received similar threats. Redgrave said in an e-mail sent to the Daily Gazette that Carnegie Mellon had received similar threats, as well as other schools, but that no other names came to mind. A Google News search has confirmed that the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus had received a similar threat on the morning of the 7th.
The September 10th bomb threat was in the form of an e-mail received by the Admissions Office in mid-morning and immediately forwarded to Public Safety. This one was vaguer than the previous e-mail. It threatened “action tomorrow [September 11th] on one or more college campuses” according to an awareness bulletin sent to the college community by Hain at 4:30 PM.
The precise content of the e-mails are currently confidential because of the police and FBI investigation.
Myrt Westphal emphasized that although the college believed these threats to be false that the college was “taking these threats seriously just as [students]should take fire alarms seriously and make sure everyone leaves the building–you don’t know if they are fake threats or false alarms.”