Not-so Emergency Evacuation

By Anna Pickrell '14Sports & Activities Editor

Waking up to an early morning text from a friend in another time zone is, though exhausting, always enjoyable. But when Claremont students woke up to a text at 8 a.m. from Campus Security on March 28 telling them to evacuate campus to at least one mile south of the Claremont colleges, excitement was in short supply. The message, also sent via email and voice message, included the words “this is NOT a drill” and put community members on edge. In the three minutes that passed between the initial notification and the follow-up “all clear” message, students wondered what kind of an emergency would require such action. Some of the most alert students even made it outside before the second message was sent at 8:13 a.m. It wasn’t until 9:51 a.m. that a brief follow up text (again, followed by an email) was sent out to explain that the evacuation was an accident.

The time that elapsed between the end to the evacuation and the vague explanation of the situation raises questions about organization in a real emergency. With close to two hours of limbo time, students were led to believe that there was an actual emergency to worry about for too long.

The bigger question remains unanswered. What happened that morning that accidentally sent out such an urgent alert to so many people? As covered by the Claremont Port Side, Campus Security representatives were leery to answer questions about the cause and effects of the incident. This is, essentially, a real life case of the boy who cried wolf. But this one easily could have involved a bomb threat.