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Bomb threat update: Students angry with school’s decision to remain open

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An unidentified sheriff's deputy guards the doors to Greenhorn Hall at approximately 2:05 a.m. Wednesday morning. Security was increased dramatically on campus, including within the residence halls. Photo by AJ Dome.

By AJ Dome

aj.dome@colostate-pueblo.edu

Students were in an uproar on Tuesday, March 8, over CSU-Pueblo’s failure to cancel classes and adequately inform the campus of an imposing threat.

According to a campus press release, at 10:32 a.m. a threat was discovered on a piece of paper found in a flip-chart in the OUC. Below is the threat in its exact words:

“Plan:

Operation bomb

CSU-Pueblo

Wednesday March 9th

+ we will shoot “everybody”

Soon after the threat was found, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department increased security on campus, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified.

CSU-Pueblo’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) sent out text messages and e-mails briefly describing the scenario, and urging students to report suspicious activity and “be vigilant.”

Later in the day, a press release was issued on the home page of the school’s website. The press release stated that “all operations at Colorado State University-Pueblo will continue as normal for Tuesday, March 8, and Wednesday, March 9.”

The press release continued to state that “we need YOU to take an active role in your own personal safety.”  Around the same time the press release was issued to the campus, the CSU-Pueblo Facebook page was filled with students voicing their concerns about maintaining a regular schedule on Wednesday.

“Classes were not cancelled, and there was no announcement saying that there will be no penalties for those who do not wish to attend classed for the day,” senior Spanish major Kenneth Padilla said.

Most of the wall-posts echoed one main point: that “lives are nothing to mess around with,” and that “it would be pretty stupid to attend class when there’s a bomb/shooting threat.”

“The threat update said they didn’t want to to cancel classes or do a lock-down because it might be what the perpetrator wanted,” a senior named “Alden” said. Alden, an exercise-science major, wishes to remain under a different name for this article.

“If that’s what they want, then give it to them,” Alden said. “The evil-doer will be caught because of that.”

Next, the theory began that this bomb/shooting threat was just a drill for Campus Safety Week, which coincidentally has an event scheduled that outline a school shooting scenario. Some students and school employees felt that it would be a “poor choice” for CSU-Pueblo to hold an emergency drill of this size, and not tell the campus that it was indeed just a test.

“What if this is all a hoax?” Padilla said. “Then it’s just something someone did to scare the campus, and life will continue.”

Padilla was one of the many students who filled the school’s Facebook page with concerns.

“At the base, we must have food, water, and shelter, followed by items such as a feeling of security,” Padilla said.

“For many people, their school is their home; where they spend most of their time. If they do not feel safe in their own home, how can they continue to live happily?” Padilla said.

Padilla feels that canceling classes would have been a better option.

“Take away the students,” Padilla said. “There’s no need for them to be subjected to this.”

Padilla will be meeting with the Dean of Student Life, Dr. Zav Dadabhoy, on Thursday, March 10 at 8 a.m. Padilla has opened his e-mail address to those who wish to send him their comments and issues they want to be addressed by the school administration. His e-mail address can be found at the end of this article.

“In all honesty, the school is probably doing the right thing by not canceling classes,” Alden said. “It just didn’t seem like they were doing anything, though. 

It’s kind of a best-judgement situation,” Alden said. “I would have cancelled classes, put it in lock-down, and called it good.”

Well past midnight on Wednesday, students were sharing their concerns and theories on Facebook–most of which were similar to Alden’s thoughts.

 “This is a time when we as a student body, and working adults, must exercise our rights,” Padilla said.

 Security remained tight Wednesday morning. No new information has been reported or discovered at this time.

 If a person feels unsafe, or if something seems suspicious, they can contact campus law enforcement or call 911 if it is an emergency. Counselors are available in the student counseling center by calling 549-2569.

 Students can also contact Jason Turner, the director of Environmental Health and Safety on campus. His phone number is 549-2747.

 Senior Kenneth Padilla’s e-mail address is mnkyboi89@hotmail.com.

 The CSU-Pueblo TODAY will continue to follow this story, and provide updates as often as possible.