Skyline College threatened

Skyline students and faculty were evacuated from building 2 and the Pacific Heights building, following a bomb threat received at Pacific Heights, November 16 in the early afternoon.

According to Police Captain Neil Telford, the San Bruno police department was called at 12:49 p.m. from the Pacific Heights Building to investigate the threat. The San Bruno police searched both buildings, declaring both of them safe and clear.

Although everyone was allowed back in the building, not all students felt safe to return. Cosmetology student Alexis Weintraub said she did not feel the police officers did a thorough enough search and she felt unsafe in the Pacific Heights building. Weintraub said the only reason she went back to class in the building was because she couldn’t lose hours in her cosmetology class, since the students are only allowed 40 of absent hours. She also said some cosmetology students did leave, risking the absent hours, due to feeling unsafe.

Telford has complete confidence in the officers that investigated the buildings.

“Before we say an area is all clear, we want to thoroughly examine it and check it out,” Telford said. “Basically we look for anything out of the ordinary, we didn’t see anything unusual. I have confidence that we did a thorough job.”

Immediately upon the receiving of the threat the crisis action team met to discuss what to do. The key campus leaders met, collected and traded information.

Dr. Victoria Morrow, president of Skyline, was attending a rotary club meeting off-campus when the threat was received, and was called back to the campus.

According to Morrow, they don’t ordinarily evacuate in these situations unless something concrete is known.

“This typically happens when someone’s about to have a test or something, but we take them seriously,” Morrow said. “Every college across the country has bomb threats, they tend to cluster around key times of the term, it is very rare for there to actually be a bomb.”

The threat came after the disaster preparation drill on Oct. 19 and 20 and according to Morrow, without the drill the procedure for the threat wouldn’t have gone so well.

“If we had had to deal with this before the drill training, things would have gone much less smoothly,” Morrow said. “I thought it went pretty well, like a second drill.”

Bomb threats are not that uncommon, according to Telford. He said that in his 22 years working for the police department, he’s known of around 50 bomb threats and not one of them was valid.

According to Jim Herndon, chief of security, Skyline College had about four or five bomb threats around 9/11.

Telford said there would not be a press release about the bomb threat, not because of importance, but mainly for not giving the caller attention. Telford says that occasionally they can identify the subject. He says there are ways to trace the identity.

Morrow, Telford and Herndon agree that the threat was not legitimate and no one was in any harm.