York University's Glendon College to review alert policy following spate of bomb threats

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York University's Glendon College to review alert policy following spate of bomb threats

A spate of bomb threats and hateful graffiti incidents at a Toronto-area university campus prompted about 100 concerned students to show up to a town hall meeting to voice their concerns to administrators and police.

In the past month alone, York University's Glendon College campus has seen six separate bomb threats, in addition to what is listed as a "hate incident" in a summary report by the university.

All are classified as either anti-Semitic in nature or anti-Black, with the latest of the three taking place in only the past week.

At least three of the incidents have also prompted evacuations.

That has some students on edge, worried about the possibility that the threats might turn to action.

'If it were to be true, it could kill'

"It kind of makes you worry to come to school now," said student Natalie Swanton. "If it were to be true it could kill or injure many people, so you definitely don't want to take that lightly"

"It is nerve-wracking especially because some of them have been against the black community, first-year student Shaunday Melo said. "It makes you a little nervous."

In a message posted to its website on Mar. 22, Glendon College principal Donald Ipperciel said the university is "deeply concerned and saddened" by the acts, which it condemns "unequivocally."

"While we can't always comment publicly on the actions taken by our staff to address these incidents," the statement says, "we have been meeting with student groups and are working closely with York's Community Safety personnel."

No increased risk, university says

The statements adds that based on the information currently available, the university does not believe there is an increased risk to the community.

But that's little comfort to some students, including Noelle Chenier, who says she doesn't feel save living on campus and wants to see security heightened.

"A lot of people want you to call this place your home, especially if you live on campus, but I don't know if I can consider it that right now."

Nasra Mohamed also would have liked to see the university notify students more quickly, saying she was about to leave home for school on Wednesday when she read an email telling her classes were cancelled.

'Our guards are up'

"Our guards are up so hopefully nothing will happen but I won't be that surprised to be honest if it does," Mohamed said.

"This is the Trump era ... so we're kind of used to it ... It's sad."

So far, no arrests have been made in the incidents, which, are being investigated as mischief for now. It's not known yet if the acts are being perpetrated by one person or more.

Ipperciel says one of the items to come out of Friday's meeting was the fact that some staff and faculty don't feel they're being trained properly to respond to incidents — something he wants to address.

The university's communication protocol will also be reviewed, he said, so everyone is properly notified when an incident occurs.

"Definitely, we have to do better," he said.

For her part, Melo says Glendon College is the last place she would have expected to see hateful comments.

"For it to be happening here is quite surprising. I was shocked. That's why I chose to come to Glendon — because of the diversity and because of the acceptance we have here."

On Friday, while a bathroom in the college continued to bear a swastika, the halls of the campus bore some very different messages.

"We're all in this together," read one.