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Source: Grand Forks Herald, October 25, 1990

HANDLING OF BOMB THREAT DRAWS FIRE NDPEA: UND WORKERS PUT AT RISK DURING INCIDENT


Steve Schmidt, Herald Staff Writer

UND police are under fire from the North Dakota Public Employees Association for their handling of a Memorial Union bomb threat last Friday.

Campus workers were put a risk during a search of the union ballroom, NDPEA executive director Gerard Friesz said.

But police on campus say they acted responsibly, following campus safety guidelines for bomb threats.

Spokespeople for the NDPEA said they brought the complaint to the new media as part of a new labor union push to publicize worker issues in the Grand Forks and Fargo areas.

University officials said police "closely followed" department guidelines when they searched the Memorial Union Ballroom, and that those guidelines were based on similar policies for handling bomb threats elsewhere in the nation.

A male caller phoned in the threat at 9:30 p.m. the night of an aviation banquet in the ballroom.

No bomb was found, police said.

Friesz of the NDPEA in Bismarck said in a release this week, "Everyone should have been cleared from the building."

He pointed out that, according to a Herald news report Sunday, campus food service employees helped searched the Memorial Ballroom area for a bomb.

UND Police Chief Duane Czapiewski said Tuesday that after reviewing the incident, he determined that no food service workers had been asked to help in the search for a possible bomb. He pointed out though, it would be normal under bomb-threat guidelines to have some UND employees do "a precursory search" of their work areas.

"They would be the one most familiar with their areas and best able to identify a foreign object."

Czapiewski also said it was common not to call for evacuation of a campus building, unless details of a bomb threat warranted such action in the views of police and work supervisors.

The NDPEA has rarely reacted to events on individual campuses with news statements. But Denise Schlegel, recently hired as communications director in the Fargo office of the NDPEA, said the labor group is stepping up its publicity efforts this year with additional funds from the American Federation of Teachers.