Campus closes temporarily due to threat

By Julia Guerrein, Editor-in-Chief

On Thursday, August 20, the VLS campus closed due to “threatening emails and phone messages directed to our campus and community,” according to an email sent by President and Dean Thomas McHenry.

The first alert received by the VLS community came from Ashley Ziai, manager of mental health services and academic accommodations. Ziai emailed the VLS community at 10:32 a.m. announcing that COVID-19 testing scheduled for that day was cancelled “due to circumstances beyond our control.”

Two minutes later, the VLS community received a VLS Alert, which stated, “Please leave campus immediately due to unforeseen circumstances. Gifford Testing is cancelled and anyone in Campus buildings should immediately vacate. We will provide an update when you . [sic] may return to campus. An email update will follow.”

After receiving the alert, the VLS community was unaware of what was going on, including students who live in South Royalton.

At 12:03 p.m., McHenry informed the VLS community of the threats directed at the campus. According to McHenry’s email, the threats were unrelated to COVID-19. The nature of the threats prompted the administration to trigger emergency protocols, clear campus, and alert state and local police.

At 4:03 p.m., another VLS Alert informed the community that campus was accessible to those who submitted a Health Safety Contract and who tested negative for COVID-19.

In an interview with The Forum, Nikki Adelman, the SBA Vice President of Student Affairs, explained that the person who made the threats was not a current student and is not in the VLS community at this time. Adelman expressed that the administration did what they thought was right, and that a lot of people were scared after receiving the alerts.

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