Beer Box Bomb Causes Scare at U. Mass.

State police bomb squad called in for college prank

"It's not crowded on campus this morning," he said at the press conference, praising the speed at which authorities reacted to the potential threat. "We're pretty well prepared [for this]. Can we always learn? Absolutely."

According to Blaguszweski, the University has been enhancing its emergency preparedness and campus alert system over the past six months since the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Donald Robinson, who is responsible for emergency management on the UMass campus, said this morning's scare highlighted important aspects of crisis preparedness on which the University can improve.

"We know that the UMass homepage was getting so many hits that it was difficult for people to access it, so we want to work with OIT [Office of Information Technologies] to see what possibly could be done to improve that situation," he said.

UMass is also looking at a voluntary text messaging alert system, outdoor sirens, and a grappler at the bottom of the screen for the UMass TV system.

"Some of these things were already in the works. This enforced the need to continue down this road," he said.

Ellis, who first called the police, was impressed with the speedy response.

"We have a lot of dedicated employees who are willing to be here in half an hour to make sure students are safe," he said. "Students should know that there's a lot of people who want to make sure they're safe," he added, noting that Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Gargano had arrived within 30 minutes in his track pants.

Police are conducting an ongoing investigation of the device and are following up on several leads, Blaguszewski said this morning. Whether the UMPD would lead the investigation was not yet known.

(C) 2007 Massachusetts Daily Collegian via U-WIRE