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11/11/10: Threats FAQs Update

November 11, 2010


UPDATE [11/11/10]

Press Conference Nov. 10, 2010 [Posted 8:40 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010]

MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University Vice President for Student Services Garry Johnson, Office of Public Safety Director Bob Fitzgerald and Assistant Vice President for Administrative Services Dana Biernbaum spoke at a WIU press conference Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, regarding the recent threats to Tanner and Thompson halls on the WIU-Macomb campus.

A letter to the campus community, family and friends, which addresses questions individuals may have about the recent threats, from WIU President Al Goldfarb and VP Garry Johnson, is available at www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=8546.


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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Threats at WIU

Below is a a list of FAQs regarding the most recent threats have been answered by Office of Public Safety and University officials.

Q: What is happening with the investigation?
A: Because the investigation is ongoing, there is little information that can be released at this time. However, a subpoena has been issued in relation to the investigation. The Office of Public Safety is working diligently with the federal authorities in investigating the incidents. OPS and the FBI are following all leads and tips.

Q: How quickly did OPS and Housing act when receiving the threats?
A: OPS and housing staff have immediately responded. As soon as hall staff have contacted the Office of Public Safety, officers have been on the scene, along with key housing/student services personnel, and the buildings were evacuated. Searches commenced as quickly as possible during and following the evacuations.

Q: What is the University's emergency response process when these threats are received?
A: As soon as the Office of Public Safety is notified, the University's emergency response plan is put into place. Western's emergency response team gathers to discuss the course of action and puts the plan into place. In the most recent incidents, the buildings affected were immediately evacuated, and WIU's Emergency Alert System was activated to notify faculty, staff and students of the threat. In addition, the Office of Public Safety and housing staff used the in-hall public address system to notify students of the evacuation. As additional law enforcement and emergency information becomes available, it is posted on wiu.edu.

Q: Why isn't Western closing as a result of these threats?"
A: It would be a great disservice to our students if the University was shut down due to these threats, which we do not believe are valid. Closing the institution plays into the hands of the individual(s) responsible for these threats. Our number one mission is to provide a quality education to our students, and we will continue to provide the educational opportunities necessary for our students' success. We have asked our faculty and staff to be understanding and supportive of the students whose lives have been disrupted. The Office of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating to the fullest extent each of these threats. It is our expectation that the individual(s) responsible will be arrested and charged to the fullest extent of the law.

Q: What can I do to help?
A: Students with any information regarding any of the threats should contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949. Students are the University's eyes and ears. Students should report anything suspicious to the Office of Public Safety.

Q: Is there a reward?
A: Individuals with information about the anonymous bomb threats on the Western Illinois University-Macomb campus should contact the WIU Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949. Individuals with information leading to an arrest may be eligible to receive a $2,500 reward through Western's Stop the Threat Fund and $1,000 through Macomb Area Crime Stoppers, call (309) 836-3222 or 1-800-222-TIPS.

Q: What if we keep getting these threats?
A: The University will continue to follow procedures to ensure our students' safety. The Office of Public Safety and federal authorities will continue to investigate to the fullest extent.

Q: If someone is arrested, what charges can they face?
A: Individual(s) arrested in connection with the bomb threats could be subject to federal prosecution, as well as state charges. If a Western student is charged as a result of the investigation, the student is subject to University judicial charges, including expulsion. When an individual is convicted, he/she can, under state statute, be held liable for costs incurred during the investigation.

Posted By: WIU News, University Relations
Phone: (309) 298-1993 * Fax: (309) 298-1606