MU students ask for answers after bomb threat
COLUMBIA - University of Missouri students said they want to know how MU decides which situations do and don't warrant campus-wide alerts.
The Student Center and Memorial Union were evacuated Tuesday night after a bomb threat, but MU did not send an alert to students and faculty regarding the situation.
"I was walking to Cornell for a review session just as it was happening," Blake Brueggemann said. "When I got there, the TA told us we could leave if we wanted, but no one knew what was going on so we stayed."
Brueggeman said his mother texted him and said she was worried about his safety.
"I didn't even text her back," he said. "I didn't want her to worry about the fact that I was on campus."
MU student Taylor Abbate said she is at a loss for words when it comes to how the university handled the threat.
"It's scary enough that they are evacuating people from two main places on campus, but not serious enough to send out a campus alert?" she said. "I don't get that."
The MU News Bureau said Tuesday night that alerts are only sent to students when emergency situations affect the whole campus.
While no alert was sent during or after the bomb threat, MU did alert students later Tuesday night regarding a shots fired incident downtown.
Abbate said that doesn't make sense to her.
"Why would Mizzou think that shots fired downtown affects more people than a bomb threat on campus?"
Student Colton Ferguson agreed. He said he would like to know how MU makes the decision whether to send out an alert or not.
"It just seems inconsistent to me," he said. "We got a call Sunday morning at 3 am when we were all asleep about an armed robbery, but last Wednesday when there was an "armed and dangerous" man in the Hitt Street garage, MU didn't even tell us until he was dead."
MU admitted after last Wednesday's shooting in the Hitt Street garage that it should have alerted students sooner.
Since that incident, MU has shared its policy for emergency alerts with KOMU.
According to the MU News Bureau, the MUPD notifies the MU News Bureau when a dangerous situation happens. Then, the MU News Bureau notifies its web communications, which then sends emergency alerts to students and posts to social media.
KOMU 8 News asked MUPD how it decides whether or not to notify the MU News Bureau during potentially dangerous situations.
MUPD redirected KOMU 8 News back to the MU News Bureau.
The MU News Bureau released a statement to the media, students, faculty and staff, and the Columbia community.
"Safety and security are the No. 1 priority at MU, and we continue to follow existing procedures, which we are reviewing to identify any improvements we might make in the future. As soon as MUPD became aware fo the bomb threat, the MU AlertUS alarm system was activated in the Student Center and Memorial Union; both buildings were evacuated and MUPD officers arrived on the site to assure safety, secure an area around the perimeter of the building, and begin checking the building. A message was posted on MU Alert, MU's online message alert system. Because the threat was localized to two buildings and MUPD officers were on site to prevent anyone from getting too close to the buildings, a mass text alert was not sent. Our protocol is to send mass text alerts and place phone calls when the exact location of a danger is not known and we want to alert the MU community. MUPD followed its existing bomb threat procedure. No injuries have been reported as a result of this situation."