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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 20, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Person arrested after tweeting senior semi-formal bomb threat

A person was arrested during the senior semi-formal late Thursday evening after they posted a tweet saying there was a bomb in Phillips Hall, according to Ithaca College Investigator Tom Dunn.

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Courtesy of Monica WatsonStudents wait Thursday outside Phillips Hall after police officers evacuated the building due to a supposed bomb threat.

The class of 2012 semi-formal, which was being held in Emerson Suites as part of the college’s Senior Week, was cleared out by police officers at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday.

Students and other attendees were asked to leave, and according to some were told by police that the building was “not safe.”

The tweet, which was posted from @wyattcain’s account at around 11:09 p.m., read “There’s a bomb in this room. #freespeech #wherestheline #icsw2012.” Earlier that evening, a tweet was posted to the account that read “I’m going to stab someone tonight. #thatsnotajoke #icsw2012 #iwannabeonthebigboard.”

Dunn confirmed early Friday morning that campus authorities were notified of both tweets by a college staff member at around 11:10 p.m. — about one minute after the second tweet was posted publicly online.

Dunn said a person was arrested, but could not confirm whether the person was a student due to rights and privacy laws. The person, he said, was issued an appearance ticket for the Town of Ithaca court.

Officers declined to comment immediately after the evacuation, but said that an investigation was underway. Around midnight outside Phillips Hall, some officers walked around the building’s premises with flashlights and some searched under vehicles in the area.

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A tweet from @wyattcain’s account that allegedly alerted police to investigate Phillips Hall during the senior semi-formal Thursday.

Dunn said on Friday that the Office of Public Safety was “satisfied” with its investigation, and that the area has been deemed safe.

Senior Michele Fortier, who attended the dance with friends, said the situation put a damper on what had been an enjoyable week of events planned for the senior class.

“The music stopped playing and everyone was like ‘What’s going on?’ she said. “After a couple minutes, the DJ told us to evacuate. Some thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. Then we were all ushered out. Everyone was having a really great time, the decorations were gorgeous. And someone just ruined it all with a stupid tweet.”

Other students responded to the situation via social media with a mixture of frustration and confusion that the event was cut about one hour short.