Newspaper: The Evening Sentinel
Date: April 2, 1979
Title: Dickinson Open, but Most Students Gone
Author: Bill Weary, the Evening Sentinel
With 60 percent of its student population gone, Dickinson College is suspending regular classes until next week.
But college administrators consider the institution still open, with dining, dormitory, and library facilities in operation-and even the length of time classes will be suspended is subject to change.
“Based on advice from the Cumberland County Office of Emergency Preparedness, the Governor and nuclear physicists on the faculty, Dickinson College continues to believe that there is no present danger in Carlisle from the Three Mile Island situation,” Dickinson president Sam Banks said in a prepared release Sunday afternoon.
STUDENTS WHO have left campus should return by 8 a.m. Monday, April 9, “when regular classes will resume unless otherwise notified,” Banks said.
He said “Dickinson will remain open and all normal operations of the college, including the library, dining hall, dormitories, and general support functions, will continue as scheduled.”
Some professors will conduct “special learning seminars” on subjects of their choice for students remaining on campus during the time regular classes are suspended, Banks said.
Charles Seller, executive assistant to the president, said Sunday afternoon about two-thirds of the students had left. He attributed the information to Bruce Wall, associate dean of residential services.
Seller said, however, “there has been no sign of large scale panic and there never has been any sign of high emotion on any scale” on campus.
Banks’ statement attributes the departures to “misleading, conflicting and sensationalized information disseminated by the national media (which has) made it difficult for many students and staff to asses the situation properly.”
JOHN ROSS, of the Dickinson College information office, said that while he was in Philadelphia Friday, he felt he “was coming back to a panicky situation” from listening to exaggerated radio accounts of the incident.
“The quality of information deteriorates with the distance,” he said. As a result Dickinson parents have been calling the college the last few days with calls of concern, he said.
Ross said less than 10 percent of the faculty have left. Departures have “been a trickle process rather than a process of mass exodus,” he said.
Area colleges that have closed all operations are Pennsylvania State University’s Capital Campus in Middletown, until April 9, and Harrisburg Area Community College.
Shippensburg State College is remaining open, according to Gary Willhide, director of public relations. He said he did not know if many students had left because of the nuclear reactor accident but said many parents have called the college over the weekend expressing concern.
Dickinson School of Law is scheduling classes as usual.