Uptick in Local Bomb Threats Amid Cornell University Evacuation

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ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) – A quiet Sunday turned terrifying when reports of multiple bomb threats were made on Cornell University’s campus.

The university was just one of three – alongside Brown and Columbia – to evacuate thousands of students after calls were made to local police stating bombs were located on various parts of the three campuses. The threat came just two days after Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut evacuated students and staff after a bomb report Friday.

“We received a text message from the emergency notification system at the university that Learner Hall and Carmen Hall were being evacuated due to bomb threats and to stay away from those buildings until further notice,” Columbia University Student Mohammad Hemeida said.

Across the nation, bomb threats are decreasing after they surged in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school year, according to the Educator’s Safety Network report.

In the Southern Tier, bomb threats have been more frequent – the region has seen them in local schools, the Arnot Mall and the Elmira City Hall.

In some cases, students are the ones making the threats, though experts tell 18 News that’s not unusual.

“I feel like these are all situations that are been kind of present, I think it’s just being more aware of what’s happening,” Arnot Health Child Psychiatrist Dr. William George said.

In Sunday’s incident, police said they didn’t find any credible bomb threats at the three universities. Fortunately, that’s usually the case, as 90 to 95-percent of threats made are a hoax, according to Arizona State University. Though for those who experience it, that doesn’t make the situation less terrifying.

“These acute stressors are situational components of the threats happening,” Dr. George said. “I think it does add on to an individual’s distress and can contribute to worsening mental health aspects.”

Experts say remember, the saying ‘if you see something, say something,’ is always the best policy to go by.

“Better safe than sorry, so we definitely just stay away from those [buildings],” Hemeida said. “Like people in the group chats have always been telling each other – better safe than sorry.”

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