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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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U Site Of Unabomber’s Only Failed Bomb

By Jenna Miller

In October 1981, Theodore “the Unabomber” Kaczynski attempted to blow up a classroom of students on the U campus.

From May 1978 until the day Kaczynski was arrested in 1996, he committed at least 10 bombings across the country and plotted for even more. His one failed attempt was at the U’s Milton Bennion Hall.

According to The Los Angeles Times, on Oct. 8, 1981 Kaczynski left a homemade bomb outside a Milton Bennion Hall classroom. A maintenance worker discovered the bomb before it went off and called police, and a bomb squad from Fort Douglas defused it.

According to an article from 1995 in The Los Angeles Times, history professor Harold Bauman had to meet with the FBI three times to try to identify a U student as the Unabomber because the FBI thought the terrorist might have been in one of Bauman’s classes.

“I’ve been teaching history of science and history of medicine,” Bauman told The Los Angeles Times in 1995. “Because of his interest in technology and his semi-scientific bent they thought he might have been in one of my classes.”

Bauman, who teaches history of science and history of medicine at the U, declined to comment for this article about when Kaczynski tried to blow up a U classroom in 1981, saying only that Kaczynski is obviously crazy.

The bomb at the U was the only one out of Kaczynski’s attempts to be deactivated and leave no one injured.

But Kaczynski’s tie to the U doesn’t end there.

In 1985, Kaczynski sent a bomb, disguised as a book manuscript, to University of Michigan professor James McConnell. The package was signed by a Ralph Kloppenburg, who claimed to be a U behavioral science student.

According to the U Registrar’s Office of Verification at the U, no Ralph Kloppenburg ever attended the U. It was assumed that Kloppenburg was an alias used by Kaczynski to throw off the police from his true identity. The bomb detonated, causing McConnell hearing loss.

Kaczynski was eventually caught in a Montana shack in 1996. He is serving a life sentence in a supermaximum security prison in Colorado.

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