Officials investigating campus bomb threats

This week in history on May 6th, 1993, Editor-in-Chief Brian Rosenthal wrote about the suspenseful event of bomb threats being made to the Hastings College Community. After the careful investigation behind the threats that were made, questions still remained, as to who would plot such a devastating plan upon the Hastings College campus.  

The Hastings Police Department is investigating two bomb threats and a break-in that occurred last week on the Hastings College campus.

At approximately 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Dr. Ken Rhodus, dean of students, was notified from campus security that Hastings police had received a phone call of a bomb threat on the HC campus.

Rhodus said he, Lyle Fleharty, director of physical plant services, and Terry Marshall, Adams County civil defense director, decided to evacuate the entire campus, beginning with the dormitories, since the exact location of the alleged bomb was not known.

Members of the fire department were initially going to search and clear Kiewit Gymnasium so that students would have a place to stay during the threat, according to Rhodus. Although the evacuation was carried out, students did not have to go to Kiewit, as police traced the phone call to Bronc Hall.

Rhodus said after officials questioned the residents of the room to which the call was traced, the bomb threat was labeled a hoax. Neither of the residents were in the room at the time of the call, according to Rhodus. The room had been left unlocked.

“I don’t think people realize how serious this is,” said Rhodus. “In dormitories especially, it is very difficult to know what you’re looking for, whether it be a pipe, a box or something else.”

Rhodus said no disciplinary action has been taken.

Sunday at 5:02 a.m. an unidentified person called 911 with a second bomb threat and further details that led Hastings police to search Hurley-McDonald Hall. Police notified campus security of the call. Campus security then called Dr. Phil Dudley, vice president of the college.

Hastings police performed an exterior inspection of Hurley-McDonald and discovered a broken window on the east side of the building. Dudley said that the registrar’s office, the treasurer’s office and the business office also had broken windows.

No bomb was found in the building, according to James Ruberson, Hastings chief of police. He said there was minor damage inside. Plants had been knocked over and a file cabinet in the business office had been tampered with. Dudley said $2 in change was taken from the change drawer, but nothing else was missing.

According to Dudley, a campus-wide evacuation was not conducted since the caller mentioned Hurley-McDonald as a specific location. Dudley said the call was traced to the college’s general number, leading officials to believe that a campus phone was used for the call.

Ruberson said the incident is under investigation.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for Sunday morning’s break-in and bomb threat at Hurley-McDonald, according to Dr. Thomas Reeves, president of the college. In a statement released yesterday, Reeves said the administration “takes these actions very seriously” and, therefore, is offering the reward.