No bomb found at Barsema despite threat


A search dog was dispatched at Barsema Hall, 740 Garden Road, after a bomb threat was reported at 11 a.m. Monday morning.

By Chelsey Boutan & Shelby Devitt

After receiving a bomb threat Monday, NIU police evacuated and searched Barsema Hall but didn’t find an explosive.

NIU Police Sgt. Alan Smith said the NIU police department’s dispatch center received a phone call from an employee at Barsema Hall at 10:36 a.m. Monday. The employee said they received a phone call from a male who said, “There’s a bomb at Barsema Hall,” and then hung up.

Upon receiving the threat, Barsema Hall was evacuated and explosive-detecting dogs were used to search the building.

Smith said no one was injured and the search produced “negative results.”

Brad Hoey, director of NIU Communications and Marketing, said his office received notification of the “all-clear” at 1:45 p.m. Monday. Classes resumed at 3 p.m.

“As far as I know, students and faculty were allowed to return to Barsema immediately after the all-clear was given,” Hoey said.

Smith would not comment on potential suspects or leads because the case is currently under investigation. If the caller who made the false threat is found, he will face “severe consequences,” Smith said. The caller who made the false threat will be prosecuted by the state’s attorney.

NIU police will also try to get restitution from the caller for the costs involved in having to investigate a bomb threat that proved to be false, Smith said.

Paul Palian, director of NIU Media and Public Relations, said email notifications were sent to students through the advisory system and information was posted on the NIU Today website. The text alert system was not used, however, because Barsema had already been evacuated, Palian said. Hoey said this instance did not constitute an emergency, just a campus advisory. Students evacuated from the building were encouraged to wait at the Holmes Student Center or library as Barsema remained closed during the investigation.

Junior marketing student Jordan Mok said he was sleeping in class at Barsema Hall Monday afternoon 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,” Dziekonski said. “It’s Halloween also, so you never know. It’s better to err on the side of caution.”

At the time of the incident, Smith said the incident could be a prank, but NIU Police took the 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.

According to the NIU Today article, while classes in Barsema resumed Monday afternoon, faculty have the option to cancel classes for compelling reasons but will need to notify students well in advance.

The article states College of Business students with questions regarding class schedules should call the College of Business office at (815) 753-5000.

Editor’s Note: Day Editor Jessica Wells contributed to this article.