Letter from Benedictine College's President Minnis Regarding Atchison Hazmat Incident

President's Letter Regarding Atchison Hazmat Incident

Published: Friday, October 21, 2016

Benedictine B

Today, President Minnis sent the following letter to students, faculty, staff, parents and other friends of Benedictine College.

Dear Benedictine College community,

After an industrial accident in Atchison today that made national news headlines, we were blessed that Benedictine College was never in danger and that our students, faculty and staff were safe.

I want to thank the entire Benedictine College community for the positive, encouraging spirit with which they handled a difficult day and review the steps the college took to keep students, faculty and staff safe.

At 8:30 a.m., a dangerous chemical leak occurred in Atchison’s Midwest Grain Products (MGP) factory. Shortly after the accident, city officials notified us of the danger. Schools in the path of a cloud from the factory were evacuated as a precaution. Please be aware, when viewing images from that day, that it was a foggy morning in Atchison. Pictures of our campus show river fog, not the chemical cloud.

At 9:00 a.m., the evacuation was announced by emergency alert text and phone calls. Personnel swept each residence hall to rouse all students, instructing them that classes were canceled and they were to go north from the campus. Busses were provided to take students to a rallying point at Atchison State Fishing Lake north of town and campus security officers directed traffic on the street.

By 9:30 a.m., our campus had been evacuated. After the evacuation, Residence Life directors stayed behind to assist any students leaving late. I also remained on campus with a team of administrators who monitored the situation and kept in touch with city officials.

Before 11:00 a.m. the campus received an all-clear from federal, state and local authorities. We instructed students that campus was open and dining services would go forward, beginning with lunch.

Our Student Health Center was kept open to address any health concerns students might have. Those who stayed on campus have reported no effects from the incident, and we encourage anyone to report any health worries.

Please know that our first concern throughout this incident was the well-being of our students, faculty and staff and that each decision we made was to maximize their safety. We were proud of the way the college community rallied together. Your Raven spirit of cooperation and helpfulness were an enormous blessing on a difficult day.


Steve Minnis

Stephen D. Minnis


Benedictine College