CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The president of the College of Charleston says college authorities found and corrected a problem that caused an automated alert system to erroneously report a bomb had been found on campus Tuesday morning.
Glenn McConnell said an emergency task force thoroughly reviewed each step of CofC's response to the bomb threat.
"Most important, we discovered the error in the Cougar Alert template that caused the inconsistency in some of the initial messaging regarding the bomb threat," McConnell said in a statement.
He explained that templates the system uses contain "individualized wording" for each method of Cougar Alert communication.
"While the phone message that went out first was correctly worded, the corresponding templates for text and email Cougar Alerts did not match and had the wrong information," McConnell said in the statement. "That glitch has now been corrected."
McConnell said the task force also went through all of the messaging in all of the emergency communication templates to check for uniformity and accuracy.
"We are confident the system now works the way we need it to work," McConnell said.
Shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday, students received a Cougar Alert indicating a bomb had been found on campus and directing them to prepare immediately for a possible evacuation. The same message was posted on the college's Facebook page, but then deleted within about 20 minutes.
Six campus buildings were evacuated and three of them were searched by police and the bomb squad. Area streets were blocked off and nearby businesses were forced to close for the day.
Shortly before 5 p.m., authorities cleared the scene, announcing no bomb was found.
Late Tuesday afternoon, McConnell acknowledged the system proved "less than effective" and called the situation "unacceptable."