By Stefanie Chiguluri
Two students at the Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University posted bomb threats on anonymous social media platforms that proved to be false alarms last week.
A VMI cadet posted a comment Nov. 27 on the platform Jodel, the primary anonymous social media platform used by cadets.
“If I don’t get Cyber Warrior RCO in 3 months, I’m gonna get silly in barracks (I have a pipe bomb in the sentinel box),” the cadet wrote. RCO refers to regimental commanding officer – the highest rank a cadet can reach.
VMI officials were able to obtain information from Jodel, which led them to the cadet who posted the comment. VMI police determined there was never a serious threat to the school or surrounding community, wrote Superintendent Major General Cedric T. Wins in an email to cadets last Tuesday.
Police are still investigating the incident, and the Commonwealth Attorney has yet to determine if criminal charges will be filed.
Last Thursday, a W&L student posted using YikYak, which also allows for anonymous posts. “У меня есть бомба,” the student wrote. According to Google Translate, the phrase means “I have a bomb” in Russian.
YikYak reported the post to the FBI, which alerted local police to the threat.
Students at W&L received an emergency alert around 9 p.m. as police evacuated John W. Elrod Commons, a central campus building. Police used a bomb-sniffing dog to search the building, which was reopened at 5:30 a.m.
YikYak provided information that led authorities to a W&L student, who was detained and interviewed Thursday night. Criminal charges could still be filed against the student as the investigation continues.
It’s unclear what disciplinary actions could be taken by VMI and W&L against the students.