Recently, Washington State Community College (WSCC) was alerted by the Marietta Police Department of a possible bomb on the second floor of the Arts & Sciences building. As president of WSCC, it was a phone call I hoped never to receive and it was an enormous relief when we got word that all campus buildings were secure and there was no evidence of any explosive devices. I am grateful to the Marietta Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol for the prompt response to the situation and their swift work in giving us the all-clear.
Thank you Patrolman Brandon Chapman, Patrolman Jake Dennison, Patrolman Dustin Young, Patrolman Devon Moss, and Patrolman Tripp Giffin (supervisor) from the Marietta PD, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael W. Harlow and his bomb-sniffing K9 Brody, and Lieutenant Chris Chesar from the Marietta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Your professional performance that day was exceptional. We appreciate how you controlled the potentially dangerous situation and provided us with much-needed peace of mind.
I would also like to express my appreciation for valuable members of the WSCC team including Brandon Herb, our Director of Facilities, and Gary Barber, our Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, who worked closely with law enforcement to return our campus to a secure place to work and learn.
Washington State Community College was not the only victim of bomb threats. We were part of a widespread bomb threat that involved institutions from across Ohio and West Virginia, including Ohio University Zane State, Hocking College, Belmont College, West Virginia University-Parkersburg, and West Virginia Northern Community College. We now know there was a surge of similar threats to community colleges across the US.
Washington State has a long history of being a very safe campus; however, this incident reminded us that we can never become complacent. The safety of our faculty, staff, and students is paramount and we are committed to remaining vigilant in our efforts to ensure WSCC will continue to be a safe place to work and go to school. We will continue to utilize the expertise of our local law enforcement to ensure our protocols remain current and relevant to today’s environment.
While these menacing threats were all found to be hoaxes, they were a reminder that no place is immune to crime. Marietta and the greater Washington County communities are fortunate to have such high-caliber law enforcement support that is diligent in their efforts to protect and keep our community safe.
With sincere appreciation,