Officials Address Dec. Bomb Threat

Rachael Franchini ’19, Associate News Editor

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Five months after Dickinson received an anonymous bomb threat to one of its academic buildings and residence halls, President Nancy Roseman announced that law enforcement officials found no bomb on campus and called the threat a “deeply disturbing hoax.”

A May 3 email to the Dickinson community stated that “college officials, campus public safety and other law enforcement agencies reacted quickly” to the Dec. 14, 2015 threat and that “no bomb was found” in their investigations. The threat, which officials received from an anonymous email account, targeted two campus buildings: Kisner-Woodward dormitory and Denny Hall.

In an email to the Dickinsonian on May 3, Dolores Danser, assistant vice president of Compliance, Campus Safety and Public Safety, confirmed that the individual responsible for the threat was expelled from campus.

Danser stated the five-month silence on the threat is because the Community Standards process only recently concluded.  However, while the process was ongoing, the student responsible has been “separated from campus since December and has not been in the area since that time.”

The identity of the student believed responsible will not be revealed because of “[the administration’s] duty to maintain the confidentiality of our students as required by federal law,” Danser said.

DPS worked with the Carlisle Police Department to identify the student responsible for the bomb threat. They issued search warrants on Internet service providers and tracked technology and location information at various times relevant to the bomb threat. Danser also stated that the investigation reviewed and looked into the defenses of the person accused with “equal seriousness.”

This incident is reminiscent of an anthrax scare on Oct. 30, 2001 in the mailroom of the HUB, reported by The Dickinsonian on Nov. 8, 2001. Employees in the mailroom discovered two “suspicious” envelopes filled with a white powder and the message “You now have anthrax, prepare to die.”  In a similar manner to the bomb threat, “College officials immediately responded with appropriate and thorough emergency measures in accordance with established procedures that have been developed and enhanced since the Sept. 11 attacks,” according to the article.

In the anthrax scare incident, “President William Durden and other school officials kept the college community aware of breaking events via e-mail,” including the arrest and arraignments of the student found responsible for the threat.  This is similar to the actions taken by Roseman and Danser following the bomb threat last Dec.  In 2001, the HUB was closed down until Nov. 3 when the test results arrived from FBI laboratories and during that time “functions were displaced to other areas around campus.”  Similarly, the finals set to take place in Denny on Dec. 14 were “moved to alternate locations,” according to an email sent by Danser on Dec. 14 following the threat.

All crimes reported to Public Safety, according to Danser, are investigated, including those where there was a use of technology.  “Public Safety has an officer who has advanced training in investigations of this type and there are local, state and federal law enforcement partners we work with too,” she continued.  “Investigations of this type are complex and time consuming, but in the majority of these cases there is a digital fingerprint of some type for law enforcement to follow.”