Campus community alerted of bomb threat


G-Jun Yam

Members of Columbia College were evacuated from the 600 S. Michigan Ave. Building due to a bomb threat made by an anonymous caller Oct. 19. 

By Campus Editor

Members of the campus community were briefly evacuated from multiple floors of the 600 S. Michigan Ave. Building following an Oct. 19 bomb threat from an anonymous caller.

According to the emergency phone and email notifications, an “anonymous intoxicated” caller made a bomb threat to the Registrars Office resulting in evacuation of the fifth through seventh floors with others notified of the situation choosing to leave the building. The notifications stated that the Office of Campus Safety & Security and the Chicago Police Department were conducting a canine search and asked students, faculty and staff to clear these floors.

“Please remain clear of the fifth through seventh floor until all clear message is given,” the notifications stated. “We are conducting a search as a precaution.”

Associate Vice President of Campus Safety and Security Ronald Sodini said the noncredible threat made by a female caller was quickly investigated by campus security, CPD and the Facilities and Operations Office. He added that explosive-detecting canine dogs were used as a precaution.

“We searched the area, and after concluding that search, business was able to resume at the college,” Sodini said. 

Sodini emphasized a bomb threat, which is an uncommon event for the college, is considered a felony offense and his office takes this and similar threats seriously.

“We would seek the prosecution of any person who would make such a false threat against our college with the purpose of disrupting our operations,” he said.

 He added that his office is unable to identify whether the caller is a student at the college at this time.

Senior creative writing major Iman Peden said she was in class inside the building when she received a phone call alerting her of the threat.

“I [saw] people in the class getting up, and I [thought] ‘Oh, it’s time to go,’” Peden said.

Senior television major Gavin Hornak, who also works as an engineer for the Television Department, said he was in the 15th floor of the 600 S. Michigan Ave. Building when he got an emergency email alerting him of the incident.

Hornak added that the emergency system inside the building was not activated even though the college has activated them for false alarms in the past.

“In bomb threats, we use the Send Word Now system for alerts,” Sodini said, declining to comment further for security purposes.

Sodini added that students are notified via email, phone call, text or all based on their emergency notification preferences selected through OASIS and encouraged them to update these preferences.

“Whatever [students] receive is what they have programmed in their phone or computer profile,” Sodini said. “They get to pick.”

Hornak, who later received a phone call informing him the building was all cleared, said he was satisfied with the way the Office of Campus Safety and Security handled the incident because it is “better to be safe than sorry.”