August 29, 2007

E-mail Threat Causes Evacuation at C.U. Business School

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Cornell police officers spent nearly two hours searching Sage Hall today after a bomb threat was sent via e-mail to a University faculty member.
At around 11 a.m., the Cornell Police Department evacuated Sage after the faculty member turned over an e-mail claiming a bomb had been planted in the building. The CUPD reopened the building, home to the Johnson Graduate School of Management, two hours later after a search yielded no signs of a threat.
By last night, the CUPD had not yet released the source of the e-mail or the faculty member who first reported the threat, according to Cornell Press Relations. The incident is still being investigated by University law enforcement.
“The CUPD obviously took this very seriously,” said Blaine Friedlander, an officer with Cornell Press Relations. “The evacuation went rapidly and efficiently, dogs sniffed around … and [didn’t find anything].”
Friedlander indicated that the CUPD is not concerned about an increased security risk after yesterday’s threat, adding that any security issues associated with the incident have been resolved.
“Obviously, the CUPD is always concerned about security,” Friedlander said. “Ever since last spring at Virginia Tech, Cornell is constantly working to improve security. Regarding this incident, though, we’re all clear.”
Yesterday’s bomb scare came just over four months after last April’s campus shootings at Virginia Tech, an event that prompted universities across the country to reassess on-campus security. Almost two weeks after the shootings, the Omega Phi Beta sorority and Lamba Phi Epsilon fraternity hosted a panel on emergency preparedness featuring officers with CUPD and Cornell Counseling and Psychological Services. George Suftin, head of crime prevention at CUPD and a speaker on the panel, said at the time that Cornell was in the process of partnering with a company that would alert the University community via text message of an on-campus emergency.
“If something happens at an elementary school, it’s easy to shut down, but Cornell is a small city, and it’s very hard to shut down the entire campus,” Suftin said, according to a previous article in The Sun. “Studies show that 90 percent of students have cell phone, so [the new plan will] send texts to everyone in a circumference.”
Sage Hall became home to the Johnson School in 1998 after a two-year renovation project that converted the former residential college into an academic building. The original dormitory was built in 1873.