Everybody seems to have an opinion about how UNC handled the bomb threat Sunday night. I am in the not good camp. I understand, as Chancellor Thorp has explained, that perhaps it was not proper protocol to let the students know via texting. But what about email? Would it have been so hard to send out an email explaining to students that they should avoid the pit? I don’t see how that would have gone against procedure.
The associate vice chancellor for university relations said, “I think that we’re all adapting now to a new reality in which people expect much more instantaneous information, and we certainly want to look at people’s needs in meeting that.” I don’t want to be overly critical of the university, but I think when there’s a bomb threat people expect to learn about it pretty quickly. Especially when they have signed up for a system that is in place that is meant to do just that.
I learned about the threat through people who had been evacuated from the libraries and the union. They explained that policemen with shotguns had evacuated the buildings. That sends a message to people: that they are serious. And, when the situation is believed to be that serious, “the traditional pattern in which the media, not the University, inform the community of danger” is not good enough.
Thankfully, nothing came from the threat Sunday night. And, I understand the university hasn’t had much practice at situations like this one. So, let them take this as a valuable learning opportunity as they promise to do, because the reality is that one day their response might mean the difference between life and death.