Friday Morning Bomb Threat Update


By Christine Holmes

Classes resumed as usual after the caller who initiated a bomb threat and full campus evacuation at Muskingum University Thursday afternoon was traced.

“Our computer staff was able to identify the phone number of the bomb threat caller,” said Muskingum University president Anne Steele in her email to the Muskingum community. “The call was placed from New York to the general campus toll-free number.” Steele said the phone number does not belong to anyone presently associated with Muskingum University.

At 4:44 p.m. on Thursday, a text was sent to Muskingum Emergency Text Alert subscribers notifying them that campus would re-open at 6:30 a.m. and that classes will resume at 8:00 a.m.

Following the bomb threat phone call at 12:44 p.m., the entire campus community was alerted through META. The text subscribers received at 1:18 p.m. read “Effective immediately. Muskingum U is closed. All students should leave campus immediately & not return until tomorrow AM.”

Everyone on campus evacuated upon notification. Traffic was backed up as students, faculty, and staff tried to leave the premises.

“I am very proud to report that every single student has been housed by family, friends, faculty, and staff,” said Steele. Students without anywhere to go during the evacuation were transported to John Glenn High School. Muskingum Valley Red Cross was at the site serving refreshments for evacuated students.

Matt Allen, a Muskingum University junior from Zanesville, offered his home to over ten students that needed shelter, including several international students. Allen said he first drove his friends to his house and then returned to John Glenn High School to take in more students.

Many members of Muskingum University’s faculty and staff also reached out to students, offering a place to stay in their homes. Jane Varley, Chair of English Department, sent an email to her students around 2:00 p.m. offering her assistance throughout the evacuation.  Also welcoming his home to students was Muskingum University chaplain, Will Mullins. Steele even stopped to help a few frantic international students.

Despite the chaotic day, students still managed to have some fun. A group of nearly twenty students chose to spend their evening watching the premiere of Catching Fire. “We were looking for something fun to do. A lot of us had homework to do, but we couldn’t do much without internet access,” said sophomore Lauren Thomas. “We decided we could make the most of the unfortunate circumstances by going to the movies.”

Updated 11/22/13 1:35 a.m. #MUBombUpdate