At 8:35 a.m., University officials told the Austin American-Statesman, they received a call from a man with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to be with Al Qaeda. The man said that he had placed bombs all over campus and they would detonate in 90 minutes.
At 9:50 a.m., emergency sirens wailed, and at 9:53 a University-wide text message ordered all students, faculty, and staff to evacuate and “get as far away as possible.”
Campus sidewalks and streets were soon filled with thousands of people walking, biking, or driving away under a light rain. Cell phone service was spotty under a heavy load of thousands of texts and calls.
“Time specified in phone threat has passed but we have not yet cleared all buildings. Decision to resume operations&classes will come shortly,” UT tweeted at 10:45.
A press conference with President Powers and UTPD’s chief of police will take place at noon at the AT&T Center, said Lee Clippard, director of public affairs in the College of Natural Sciences.
Buildings have been cleared for re-entry at noon, but afternoon classes are cancelled. Other campus activities resume at 5 p.m.
A similar threat at North Dakota State University also led that institution to evacuate its campus this morning.
Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman