A bomb threat prompted officials at the University of Minnesota to evacuate eight buildings on the campus Wednesday. Officials say a student found a typed note with a bomb threat in the restroom of a classroom building. The student gave the note to a professor, who turned it over to campus police.
Thousands of students and staff were evacuated from Smith, Kohltoff, Fraser, Appleby, Morrill and Johnston halls, Walter Library and the Science Classroom Building. University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness said the specificity of the note prompted the evacuations.
"It was specific. It named specific buildings. It named specific times the buildings were at risk," Hestness said.
Some buildings that were adjacent to the named buildings were also evacuated.
“I don't think we could err on the side of not believing it.”U of M Police Chief Greg Hestness
Police said the buildings were searched by bomb-sniffing dogs and law enforcement personnel, but they found nothing unusual. The buildings were to remain closed to students and staff for rest of the day Wednesday. Police said they would monitor the buildings. Hestness said if there were no further problems, it would be "business as usual" on Thursday.
The threat comes two days after a gunman killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech. School officials there have been criticized for the delay in notifying students about the first of the two deadly shootings on the campus that day. At the University of Minnesota, school officials say an e-mail was sent to students at 1:15, about an hour after the note was reported to campus police and shortly before the buildings had been evacuated.
Hestness said the tragedy at Virginia Tech did have some impact on how university officials handled today's threat. "Quite honestly, we all realize the events of the last few days in Virginia, certainly the possibly of hoaxes or copy cats were but I don't think we could err on the side of not believing it," he said.
The University of Minnesota is one of several schools and universities across the country that have received bomb threats since the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech.