UPDATE — Barsema Hall gets ‘all clear’ after bomb threat

By Chelsey Boutan and Shelby Devitt

UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: According to an NIU email alert, NIU’s Department of Police and Public Safety issued an “all clear” for Barsema Hall at 2 p.m. Classes will resume at 3 p.m., and students and faculty will be able to access the building immediately.


NIU police evacuated Barsema Hall this morning and are investigating the report of a bomb threat.

NIU Police Sgt. Alan Smith said some people were resistant to leave the building but everyone was evacuated as quickly as possible. Explosive detecting dogs are being used to search the building, Smith said around 12 p.m. Monday.

Brian Hemphill, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, spoke to a group of students waiting at the scene. Hemphill said the earliest the building would reopen would be 1:30 or 2 p.m. and encouraged students to wait in the Holmes Student Center or library until further details were announced.

Smith said it could potentially be a prank but the NIU Police are taking the bomb threat seriously.

“It’s better to err on the side of caution than to not believe it and then have something bad happen to people,” Smith said.

Paul Palian, director of NIU Media and Public Relations, advised students and community members to stay clear of Barsema Hall as the investigation continues.

“Our first priority is to evacuate Barsema Hall and to send out a notification through the advisory system,” Palian said. “We didn’t use the text system because the building [had] already been evacuated.”

Palian said notifications were sent to student via email as well as through the NIU Today website. Students should check for notifications before attending class in Barsema today and information will be updated as it becomes available, Palian said.

Junior marketing student Jordan Mok said he was sleeping in class and woke up when he heard an announcement from an associate dean that there was a bomb threat and they needed to evacuate.

“I don’t think it’s real,” Mok said. “That would just suck if it was. I don’t want the building to get blown up.”

MBA graduate student Brett Dziekonski was working on a group project with classmates when police told them to evacuate.

“I have no idea if it’s a serious threat or someone wanting to get out of a test,” said Dziekonski. “It’s Halloween also, so you never know. It’s better to err on the side of caution.”

Editor’s note: Day Editor Jessica Wells contributed to this article