Bomb Threat Rocks Living and Learning Center

This past Monday, a general threat was made on the Campus Children’s Center in Living and Learning’s C building.

A note, slipped under a staff member’s door, stated, “screaming kids suck” and threatened “blowing this place up.” The entire L/L community was notified by a mass email Monday afternoon.

On Wednesday, another note was found. This time it was more specific, prompting the evacuation of the children, teachers, and the 109 residents of the building. The fire alarm was pulled at about nine in the morning.

Students and children of the center were directed into the Fireplace Lounge, but because it was so early, many students were unprepared for the long separation from their rooms. Some were stranded without their IDs, books and notes for class, or even sufficient clothing.

Parents of the children and students were contacted and informed of the situation.

The Deans of Students called to inform professors of the threat, and subsequent interruption in the students’ schedules.

University Police Services, under the direction of Chief Gary Margolis secured the building’s perimeter and made sure that the building was clear of students.

At this point a room to room search was conducted. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms came to the site to scan the building for any explosive devices using bomb-sniffing dogs. The Burlington Fire Department was also present to consult with people on the scene.

Wednesday evening a meeting was scheduled for residents of C-Building to meet with the people dealing with the threat. Present at the meeting were Director of L/L John Sama, Chief of University Police Services Gary Margolis, Deb Renshaw, a representative for the Counseling Center, Director of the Children’s Center Dale Goldhaber, L/L Residence Director Joe Russell, and Pamela Gardener from Career Services who has a daughter at the Children’s Center.

Following introductions, a general question and answer session was opened. Students could air any concerns or anxieties bothering them. Many people wanted to know specifics of the note. But information like this can’t be divulged. Margolis was adamant about this point, when too much information gets into the public, investigations become more difficult. Students were also encouraged to call the TIPS hotline if they had any information. The leads received from the hotline are being followed up on. As a result, Margolis believes the, “investigation is going along at a nice clip.”

The Children’s Center has been a part of Living and Learning since its opening in 1973. Located in C-Building of the L/L complex, the Children’s Center occupies the first floor classrooms and offices. There is a playground behind the C-Low area. Students live on the second and third levels of the building. To access L/L Commons, students must pass through an indoor play area.

In general, director Goldhaber believes, “the vast majority of living/learning students are wonderful neighbors.” Even though the students and children have different lifestyles, both benefit from the presence of the other.

Noise complaints are rare. According to students who are residents of the building, the noise is really not too much of an issue. The area outside C-Low is said to be the loudest, and this is mostly in the mornings. Sound does carry up the stairwells, but with suite doors closed any disturbance is minimal.

In general, students are encouraged to air any complaints about noise or otherwise to either L/L administration, or the center’s director Dale Goldhaber. From that point, action can be taken to address the situation in a constructive manner for everyone.

If you have any information about the Children’s Center threat, call the Police Services tip hotline at 656-TIPS.