Around 9:00am on Monday morning, students at Spring Arbor University (SAU) received an email explaining that because of a bomb threat at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church (SAFMC), Chapel had been cancelled.
Early in the morning, SAU students reported seeing caution tape and police vehicles in the SAFMC parking lot. Damon Seacott, Chief of Staff at SAU, said, “Our campus safety folks saw a sticky note on the door that said there was a bomb at the church.”
Campus Safety Director Scott Krebill said that the threat was likely the work of a student or the relative of one. The note was a threat to the SAFMC rather than the Spring Arbor campus, but the time indicated was that of SAU’s Chapel hour.
Krebill said that this threat could be related to some earlier campus vandalism, including destruction in White Auditorium several days previous and defacing of trash cans the night before the note was found.
“The impact on campus was minimal,” said Krebill. The incident had far more of a repercussion for the church and the preschool meeting there. “I don’t think this person knew what they were doing,” said Krebill. “They probably just wanted to cause some trouble for the university. They didn’t think about how this would affect those kids in the preschool.” Some of the children’s parents still have concerns about whether the church is safe, he added.
According to Seacott, “The local and state police are handling it, if they do find out who did it, it’ll be very serious. Once they find out who, it’s no longer a school disciplinary issue.”
SAU students were informed of an alternative Chapel service that would take place in the Ralph Carey Forum (RCF) on campus. “We only had an alternative service because it was an Arbor Day,” said Seacott.
The prospective students visiting SAU’s campus and a small gathering of current SAU students gathered in the RCF at 10:00am for worship to hear SAU Chaplain Ron Kopicko speak.
“Still having chapel speaks louder than whatever this person meant to say,” said Krebill. “The bomb threat created an opportunity for the university to overcome adversity. And they succeeded.”
By Amber Cekander and Heather Clark