University News

ALERT UPDATE [7:45 a.m. 3/27/09]

March 27, 2009


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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University President Al Goldfarb announced that he and his wife Elaine have contributed an additional $500 to Western's Stop the Threat Fund through the WIU Foundation, which now includes a $1,000 reward (from funds donated to Western from alumni and friends) and $1,000 from the Goldfarbs. The fund was established last year in response to two previous unfounded threats. Individuals with information about the threats should contact the WIU Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949.

There have been no new developments overnight. The WIU-Macomb campus remains open today (March 27) and classes are scheduled as usual. Additional security support from city, county and state law enforcement agencies remains present on campus, and WIU's Office of Public Safety is continuing its investigation, Goldfarb added.

Members of the campus community are asked to report any suspicious behavior to the Office of Public Safety by calling 9-1-1 from any campus phone or by calling (309) 298-1949. There are also 51 emergency callboxes located throughout campus.

"We continue to investigate this threat and focus on the safety of our entire campus community," Goldfarb said. "Again, I also remind the campus that the individual or individuals responsible for these threats will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

If students wish to speak to a mental health counselor for help in coping with the stress of this incident, they may call the University Counseling Center at
(309) 298-2453.


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Update [6:30 p.m. 3/26/09]

MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University President Al Goldfarb, vice presidents and police officers have visited several campus buildings today to talk to students and employees to reassure them that no incidents have been reported, that enhanced police presence on campus will continue tomorrow (March 27) and an investigation is continuing.

In addition, trained bomb-detecting canines from the Illinois Secretary of State Police, Adams County Sheriff's Department and the Peoria Police Department bomb squad were brought to campus around 1:30 p.m. to search various areas of campus. According to the WIU Office of Public Safety, the dogs did not alert or indicate the presence of an explosive device.

Two handwritten notes containing a threat were discovered at approximately 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in Horrabin Hall on the WIU-Macomb campus, while a third unrelated bomb threat was found approximately 10:50 a.m. written on the wall of a Stipes Hall restroom stall.

Video from this morning's news conference is available on the WIU YouTube site at youtube.com/westernillinoisu as well as on WIU's MySpace TV account and on its WIU's Facebook page. Audio from the news conference is also available on Western's Tri States Public Radio website at www.tristatesradio.com.

Additional security measures have been implemented in the residence halls. In addition to their hall keys, residents need their ID to enter the halls, and all persons entering are checked against a residence list. Dining halls are accessible only through the residence halls.

"The individual or individuals responsible for these threats will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and to the fullest extent of University policy," Goldfarb said. "Threats of any kind will not be tolerated."

Individuals with information about the threats should contact the WIU Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949.

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Update [3:45 p.m. 3/26/09]

03.26.09: Threatening Notes Found on WIU-Macomb Campus


MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University police continue to investigate the source of three threatening notes that were found on the WIU-Macomb campus this morning.

Office of Public Safety Director Robert Fitzgerald said the investigation has determined that the notes were originally found at approximately 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. today (March 26) in Horrabin Hall on the WIU-Macomb campus. The first handwritten note stated: "You'll have a terrible tragedy occur Thursday 3/26/09," while the second note that was discovered stated: "People will perish on campus 3/26/09."

An alert was issued at approximately 8:30 a.m. using the WIU Emergency Alert System.

Police are also investigating a threatening message that was written on the wall of a Stipes Hall restroom stall. The message, which stated "Bomb going off at 10 a.m. March 26," was discovered around 10:50 a.m. today. A trained bomb-sniffing dog was brought to campus from Springfield to search various areas on campus. According to WIU Office of Public Safety, the dog did not alert or indicate the presence of an explosive device.

"Western remains open and classes are being held," said President Al Goldfarb. "The safety of our campus community is our top priority, but we will not allow these incidents to control our lives."

Police presence on campus has been heightened with support from city, county and state law enforcement agencies. In addition to the extra law enforcement patrol throughout campus, residence halls and dining areas have been secured. Residents need keys and an ID to enter the halls, and all persons entering are checked against a residence list. Dining halls are accessible only through the residence halls, said Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson.

"I would like to thank the local, county and state police agencies for responding so quickly this morning and for providing support. We greatly appreciate their assistance," Goldfarb added.

A press conference was held at 10:30 a.m. The video is available on the WIU's YouTube channel (youtube.com/watch?v=u7phL5MeWsI) and WIU's MySpace TV channel (vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=54718319).

Audio from the news conference is also available at
publicbroadcasting.net/wium/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1485781.

Members of the campus community are asked to take notice of any suspicious behavior, and report it to the Office of Public Safety immediately by calling 9-1-1 from any campus phone or 298-1949. There are also 51 emergency callboxes located throughout campus.

Individuals with information about the anonymous threats should contact the WIU Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949. Individuals with information leading to an arrest may be eligible to receive Western's Stop the Threat Fund though the WIU Foundation, which includes a $1,000 reward and an additional $500 reward donated by President and Mrs. Goldfarb. The fund was established in response to two previous unfounded threats.

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UPDATE [Posted 1:25 p.m. 3/26/09]

MACOMB, IL -- The Secretary of State police unit's bomb-sniffing canine will be on the Western Illinois University-Macomb campus approximately 1:30 p.m. today (March 26) to search various areas of campus as a precautionary measure due to a threatening message that was written on the wall of a Stipes Hall restroom stall. The message, which was discovered around 10:50 a.m. today, indicated a bomb would go off on campus at 10 a.m. March 26.

In addition, WIU police, along with state police, continue to investigate the source of two threatening notes that were found in Horrabin Hall this morning.

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UPDATE [Posted 11:45 a.m. 3/26/09]

MACOMB, IL – An unrelated threat was discovered at approximately 10:50 a.m. today (March 26) written on the wall of a restroom stall in Stipes Hall.

According to the Office of Public Safety, the threat indicated an incident would occur at 10 a.m. today in Stipes Hall.

"We are concerned about copycat activities," said OPS Director Bob Fitzgerald. "Even if someone thinks that leaving a message is a joke or prank, the University will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."

The two handwritten notes discovered in Horrabin Hall this morning at 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. have been sent to the crime lab in Springfield for analysis.

The Western Illinois University-Macomb campus remains open and classes are being held as scheduled.

An investigation is ongoing and police presence on campus has been heightened with support from city, county and state law enforcement. In addition to the extra law enforcement in cars and walking through campus buildings, residence halls and dining areas have been secured.

The campus is asked to take notice of any suspicious behavior and report it to the Office of Public Safety immediately by calling 9-1-1 from any campus phone or
298-1949. There are also 51 emergency callboxes located throughout campus.

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UPDATE [POSTED 9:45 A.M. 3/26/09]

MACOMB, IL -- A second threatening note was discovered in a Horrabin Hall classroom at approximately 9:30 a.m. today (March 26) on the Western Illinois University-Macomb campus. The second note did not specify the nature of the threat.

According to the Office of Public Safety, officers are unsure as to when the note may have been placed in the classroom. An investigation is continuing.

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CAMPUS ALERT: Threatening Note Found on WIU-Macomb Campus

MARCH 26, 2009 [POSTED 8:30 A.M.]


MACOMB, IL -- A threatening note was found in Horrabin Hall at 7:30 a.m. today (March 26) on the Western Illinois University-Macomb campus, according to University officials. The note did not specify the nature of the threat.

An investigation is ongoing and police presence on campus has been heightened with support from city, county and state law enforcement. Western remains open and classes are being held as usual. In addition to the extra law enforcement in cars and walking through campus buildings, residence halls and dining areas have been secured.

The campus is asked to take notice of any suspicious behavior and report it to the Office of Public Safety immediately by calling 9-1-1 from any campus phone or 298-1949. There are also 51 emergency callboxes located throughout campus.

"We are investigating this incident, and we will prosecute the individual(s) responsible to the fullest extent of the law," said WIU President Goldfarb.

If students wish to speak to a mental health counselor for help in coping with the stress of this incident, they may call the University Counseling Center at (309) 298-2453.

Individuals with information about the anonymous threat should contact the WIU Office of Public Safety (OPS) at (309) 298-1949 or Western's Stop the Threat Fund, which includes $1,000 and an additional $500 donated by President and Mrs. Goldfarb. The fund was established in response to two previous unfounded threats.

A warning alert has been issued using Western's Emergency Alert System.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (DR-Shinberger@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations