Bomb threat deemed no hazard

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Bomb threat deemed no hazard

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By: Zak Kazzaz
Posted: 4/23/07
Early Friday morning, Duke University Police Department received an anonymous bomb threat for Bell Tower Dormitory and another building, which does not exist.

The threat-received through a telecommunications device for the deaf-was not found credible by the police, but they investigated the dorm to ensure there was no hazard, said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs.

Bell Tower residents were not evacuated and received an e-mail about the threat several hours later.

The incident added Duke to a list of schools and universities across the country that have received security threats since the Virginia Tech shootings a week ago.

Although some universities have chosen to evacuate buildings and cancel classes in response to the threats, others have opted to continue normal activities.

"Threats are made over the course of the year, and [the police] exercise a judgment," Moneta said. "They have expertise in determining that something's credible or not."

He added that DUPD is currently investigating who called in the threat.

Some Bell Tower residents said they were wary of how the situation was handled.

Freshman Jordan Rice said he saw a police officer searching the dormitory Friday.

"We asked him if he needed any help, and he said no," Rice said. "He looked to be in no hurry."

Rice added that he was unsure whether or not evacuation would have been necessary.

"They deemed it was not credible," he said. "I trust that, but then again, you really don't want to make the same mistake the Virginia Tech administrators made in not closing down classes or, in this case, evacuating a dorm."

Joe Gonzalez, associate dean for residential life, wrote in the e-mail sent to the residents that there was no reason for students to feel unsafe.

"We do not believe Bell Tower residents have any cause for concern at this time, but we wanted to make you aware of it and encourage extra vigilance on your part," he said.

In addition to Gonzalez's e-mail, Moneta sent out a message Friday to the entire undergraduate body, referencing the threat and encouraging students to remain safe and cautious.

"Institutions across the nation and world, including Duke, begin hearing murmurs of violent acts to follow at home on one's own campus," Moneta wrote in the e-mail. "While institutions must take such threats seriously and do their best to explore their veracity, this grim reality underscores our need to be extra vigilant in all that we do."

Freshman Jon Silverman, a Bell Tower resident, said he preferred to remain unaware of threats unless the University chooses to take action.

"I just don't really want to know that they're not going to do something," Silverman said. "It's perceived risk versus actual risk."

He added that, in this turbulent time, bomb threats have the potential to shut down universities and that Duke should only inform students of threats if they are concrete.

"If they do start responding to every single bomb threat, we won't have finals or classes," Silverman said. "If they just stop responding and don't let all these copycats take it seriously, then hopefully it'll die off."

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Original Source: <a href=http://www.dukechronicle.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticlePrinterFriendly&uStory_id=51338667-a7c8-461f-bf9e-7174632b4980> Duke Chronicle - April 23, 2007</a>

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Zak Kazzaz

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Duke Chronicle

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2007-06-24

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Sara Hood

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David Graham <david.graham@duke.edu>

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eng

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Zak Kazzaz, "Bomb threat deemed no hazard," in The April 16 Archive, Item #592, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/592 (accessed October 24, 2014).