By Jenn Sanders
GROSSMONT COLLEGE — It’s the last week before finals; 1:30 in the afternoon on Thursday May 17, 2012. Everyone is studying. The Tech Mall and Library are as filled as they will be right before the end of the semester. Suddenly the entire building was evacuated. No one knew what was going on. The instructors did as they would in any emergency situation; they followed standard procedure with no information as to what was going on.
It wasn’t until the evacuation that I realized how many people the Tech Mall and library can hold. It seemed to me that half of the student body was interrupted while studying for finals, many were unhappy that they were prevented from doing all of their last minute work, yet everyone filed out in an orderly manner. People milled about wondering why they had been evacuated. It was 2:30 p.m. before anyone was allowed back into the tech mall and library.
While waiting for the time when everyone could re-enter the building I walked around asking students and staff if anyone knew what the emergency was. There were many speculations: A couple of students stated that they thought that someone got too stressed out and started taking it out on other students and staff, another person thought that there might have been an electrical fire. An instructor told me that the emergency couldn’t have been too serious since there were many people standing in front of the building preventing students and staff from entering while it was being secured by campus safety. Once the staff and students were allowed back into the building I discovered the reason for the evacuation. It seems that there was a suspicious package in the ladies room at the entrance to the Tech Mall.
KNSD was on campus interviewing District Police Officer Frank Laveago. I had the opportunity to speak with him once the video interview was completed. He informed me that everything went smoothly, all proper procedures were followed by district police and that he was glad that the suspicious package was nothing more than food. He also went on to say that any and all reports of suspicious looking packages are taken very seriously, and that the students’ safety is the most important thing in any kind of emergency situation.
Sanders, commentary editor of the GC Summit, may be contacted at email@example.com