Bomb threat raises concern for student safety

An emergency evacuation of the library building at Cosumnes River College occurred due to a bomb threat issued on March 29.

Students and faculty who were present during the bomb threat or were having class during the library building evacuation had to undergo some quick decision-making on what to do in the situation.

“I think in the moment, I trust all my colleagues, both classified and faculty on campus, that you’re doing what you feel is safe for yourself and the students in your charge,” said Radio, Television and Film Professor Lauren Wagner, who was meeting with a student in her office in the library building during the incident.

Some professors who were holding classes during the time that the bomb threat was issued had to evacuate their classes from the library said that they faced some difficulties.

Mathematics Professor Lora Stewart said she was about to head over to the library to teach her math class when she found out about the bomb threat and evacuation from her students and had to quickly find an alternative place to have class.

“I said ‘no, we’re still going to have class. I just have to figure out where,’” said Stewart.

Stewart said she was going to have class outside with her students, but her student instructor suggested they use one of the portables on campus that are used for tutoring. After finding the key, Stewart and her students were able to use the portable to hold class.

Stewart said that they were having a review session that day for a test that was coming up, and that it was urgent that all the students were able to have class to do so. However, not all students were.

“A lot of the students didn’t come to class because they had gotten an email [about the bomb threat],” said Stewart.

The initial alert for the threat was an area that caused complications as well.

The message sent out to students via text message read, “CRC EMERGENCY: Police report a bomb threat on campus in the Library Building. Stay away from the area until further notice. Other parts of campus still open.”

While the text message did indicate that the threat was specific to the area of the library building, some students and faculty were unsure of the severity of the situation and chose to cancel or miss class.

“I was getting ready to head out to campus when I got the message,” said Joshua Saetern, a 20-year-old biological sciences major. “The very moment I got it, I said ‘nope’ and turned off my car and went back inside the house.”

Aden Trawick, 22, a liberal arts major, said he had class in the Learning Resource Center next to the library and figured it was too close, so he went off campus and waited.

“I wasn’t going to go to class until any further notice,” he said.

Some faculty who canceled class due to the bomb threat were concerned over whether they would be penalized by having to take time off from sick or vacation days.

Faculty Union President Jason Newman said, however, that teachers would not be penalized for time missed.

“The faculty union met with the president of the college and discussed the issue and reached an agreement that faculty who did cancel their classes outside of the library would not receive a pay deduction or have to file an absence report,” said Newman.

“Ultimately, the safety of students is a personal decision that faculty need to make,” Newman said. “However, faculty need to also listen to the alert system that is being used by the campus which provided directives about safety to every member on campus.”

Newman also said that faculty members should contact their dean first before canceling class if possible.