Last Updated:September 20 @ 08:20 am

Bomb threats cause US campuses to evacuate

By AP Staff

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Thousands of people streamed off university campuses in Texas and North Dakota on Friday after phoned-in bomb threats prompted evacuations and officials warned students and faculty to get away as quickly as possible. No bombs had been found on either campus by late morning and it was not clear whether the threats were related.

The University of Texas issued received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man claiming to be with al-Qaida who said he had placed bombs all over the 50,000-student Austin campus, according to University of Texas spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon. He claimed the bombs would go off in 90 minutes and all buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m. as a precaution, Weldon said.

The deadline passed without incident, and the university issued another advisory saying all buildings had been cleared. It left open the possibility that classes could resume later Friday.

North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said 20,000 people also were evacuated from his school's main and downtown campuses in Fargo after the school received its bomb threat Friday morning. Officials did not immediately release details about the North Dakota threat.

In Texas, sirens wailed on campus and cellphones pinged with text messages as the alert when out. Students described more confusion than panic as they began to exit the sprawling campus in what one described as an "orderly but tense" manner. Students said they were directed off campus by university staff.

"One of them said to me 'get off this campus as soon as possible,'" said Elizabeth Gerberich, an 18-year-old freshman from New Jersey.

Police blocked off roads heading into campus as lines of cars sat in gridlock trying to get out.

At the football stadium, executive senior associate athletics director Ed Goble said he was discussing logistics with authorities because the Longhorns needed to get ready to leave for a Saturday football game at the University of Mississippi. Shortly after 11 a.m., while the rest of campus remained almost entirely deserted, Goble said police had given football players permission to go into the athletic complex to pack for the game.

Ashley Moran, a freshman from Houston, said she was waiting to get into class when word quickly began spreading among students to leave immediately.

"It makes me really nervous I just know we're supposed to get out," she said.

With rain falling, students stood under awnings and overhangs and inundated nearby restaurants and coffee shops as they waited to find out when classes would resume

Abby Johnston, a production and special editions coordinator for Texas Student Media, said she received the first text message from the university less than an hour after she arrived at work and started thinking about what she would publish in the next day's paper. Then sirens started blaring.

"We do the siren test once a month and so at first people thought maybe it was just a test, and then we started to tell everybody, 'No actually we have to get out of here pretty immediately,'" said Johnston, 22. "There was definitely a little bit of nervous tension."

Tania Lara, a graduate student at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, said she was at work inside a central campus academic building when she got a text message to get as far away was possible.

"It was calm but nobody knew what was going on," she said, describing a crush of students heading for the exits. "No one was yelling 'get out of here' or anything like that."

___

Associated Press writers Will Weissert in Austin, Ramit Plushnick-Masti in Houston, Nomaan Merchant in Dallas, Ashley M. Heher in Chicago and Alicia Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.

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9 Comments

  1. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    September 14, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    With called ID and instant tracking of incoming calls, you would think the news would report “Bomb Threat Caller arrested”

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    • canada3dayerComment by canada3dayer
      September 17, 2012 @ 3:33 am

      caller probably used a burn phone…

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  2. noveldogComment by noveldog
    September 14, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    The Muslims are warming up for their long anticipated and sought after jihad. Film or no film they want to dominate the world and intend to if they have to kill off all their adversaries. Face facts they are a cult. They are a cult! They will kill you for hardly any reason at all.

    So vote for Mitt Romney and the GOP if you want to be protected. BHO is not going to protect you….not if he really is one of them?

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    • arwenusaComment by arwenusa
      September 14, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

      If people could be bothered to find out what the qualifiers are that make a group a cult, they would see for themselves that Islam is a cult.

      If some group of oddly dressed, unshaven, not too clean Americans went out into the desert and did the very same things that Muslims do with the blessing of the Koran, no one would hesitate to call that group a cult.

      If we continue protecting the Muslims to our own detriment, we are going to find ourselves living in the Great Permanent Islamic Dark Age.

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  3. middlegroundComment by middleground
    September 14, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    The time has come for a national ID card and the shutting down of illegals streaming into America. If you aren’t coming to become an American with all that that traditionally entails, then stay home. Our frontier is Alaska and we still have prisons on Adak Island for those who break our laws. If those prisons have deteriorated we need your labor to rebuild them or you can go home.

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    • ClarkCComment by ClarkC
      September 14, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

      What does it matter whether Muslim immigrants are legal or illegal? We let thousands of Muslims into the country every year. If one out of a thousand were willing to be jihadists, that would cause havoc throughout the country. So, why do we let them in? We need to get the courage to talk about ALL immigration, not just illegal immigration. You don’t let immigrants in unless they benefit your country. Muslim immigrants are a net drain on the country. Take a look at airport security, for example. Would our draconian measures be needed if we had no Muslims here in the first place?

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    • snattlerakeComment by snattlerake
      September 15, 2012 @ 8:25 am

      Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it…

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  4. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    September 14, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

    Somebody is observing response procedures and measuring response time.

    Either that, or it’s a couple of ‘Occupy’ low-lifes with nothing else to keep themselves ‘occupied’.

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    • wildfireComment by wildfire
      September 15, 2012 @ 9:54 am

      I think you have a very valid point: causing emergency teams to react to a false alarm is an excellent way to observe and measure. And I would say that it is just as likely that someone didn’t want to go to class that day except it happened on two separate campuses in different states. Whoever was responsible needs to be found and put away for a long time. Zero tolerance, but that will not happen until we elect a President who puts America and Americans first.

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