The Student Center was evacuated for about an hour Wednesday as a result of a phoned-in bomb threat. It was the second threat made on the building in less than a month.
Students, staff and patrons were asked to leave the building by Student Activities employees and Temple administrators around 3:45 p.m.
According to Temple Police officials, the threat was called in to a manager’s office in the Student Center food court. Philadelphia Police’s bomb squad brought in two bomb-sniffing dogs to sweep the building for explosives. The search found nothing.
The incident mirrored a similar threat on April 14. Both calls were made in the late afternoon to the same number. Both calls claimed a device was in the Student Center. The April 14 bomb search also turned up nothing.
It is not known whether the two incidents are related.
The timing of the incident coincided with a planned showing of “Rachel: An American Conscience” in the Student Center. The Palestinian American Congress USA was to host the viewing of the documentary about an American-born student killed while protecting a Palestinian house from demolition by the Israeli Army.
One student believed the bomb scare was phoned in to delay – or prevent altogether – the viewing of that film.
“[Members of the Palestinian American Congress USA] are out here handing out flyers,” said Howard Pinder, a student employee at the Campus Bookstore. “They’re supposed to be in there at 4 [p.m.] to show their video. That’s why the bomb scare was called – to keep them from showing their video.”
Temple Police, however, are skeptical of that claim.
“I really don’t think the calls are related,” Deputy Director of Campus Safety Charles Leone said. “It’s focused on Sodexho. The call was made to the manager’s number. I know a lot of numbers, and I don’t even know that one.”
Sodexho is contracted as Temple’s food service provider.
Lucas K. Murray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff Writers Christopher A. Vito and Alysha Brennan contributed to this report.