The College’s new text-message alert system received its first real use on Jan. 4, when what administrators have described as an “unsubstantiated threat” was levied against the campus.
However, police and school officials have remained tight-lipped about the specifics of the incident, limiting students and faculty to the information sent to their cell phones weeks ago.
“We’re really hamstrung in being able to verify a threat was made,” Matt Golden, director of Communications and Media Relations, said. “That is making it difficult to release any useful information.”
Golden revealed that campus officials received news of the threat “thirdhand” on the afternoon of Jan. 4, when Campus Police was notified of a potential threat to the campus via an “undisclosed law enforcement agency.”
Despite being given notice on Jan. 4, the College did not release information regarding the potential safety issue to the College Web site until approximately 6:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan 5.
Text message alerts were sent to subscribers’ cell phones later that evening.
“At the time we were informed there was no real reason to do anything,” Golden said. “The status of the threat changed on Friday, so we proceeded by putting out any information we could.”
Aside from the lack of available information, Golden was pleased with the initial implementation of the new critical incident plan.
“It went very smoothly,” he said.
As of press time, neither state nor local police were seeking to press charges against the individual or individuals who threatened the College.
Ewing police Sgt. Greg Smith said there are no records of the incident in the precinct logs, but he also said that he heard the incident may have been linked to the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.
Sgt. Flournoy of the Human Services Police Deptartment at the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital said it would be impossible for her to confirm or deny that any of their residents were involved with the reported threat made against the College.
According to Flournoy, there would be no way for her to investigate unless she knew the name or phone number of the accused resident or residents.
“We have over 600 residents here,” she said.
Golden was equally skeptical about the involvement of the state mental hospital.
“I have no know knowledge of (Trenton Psychiatric’s) involvement,” he said.