Daily Dispatches
Associated Press/Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell, Statesman.com

Bomb threats evacuate Texas, North Dakota campuses

Higher Education

UPDATE: 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 were found on either campus by early afternoon it was not clear whether the threats were related.

The University of Texas received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man claiming to be with al-Qaeda 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 later issued advisories saying all buildings has been cleared and were reopening by noon. Classes were canceled for the remainder of Friday, but other university activities were to resume by 5 p.m.

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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 and its evacuation remained in place by early afternoon.

EARLIER REPORT: AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—A bomb threat phoned in to the University of Texas at Austin campus Friday sent thousands of people streaming off campus as administrators warned students and faculty to ''get as far away as possible.'' No bombs had been found by midmorning.

University of Texas spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said the university received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to be with al-Qaeda. The man said he had placed bombs all over the campus that would go off in 90 minutes.

All buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m. as a precaution, Weldon said.

Most students appeared to be leaving campus in an orderly and calm manner. Police blocked off roads to the 50,000-student campus as lines and lines of cars sat in gridlock trying to get out.

By 10:30 a.m., the university issued another advisory saying that buildings were still being checked and that no decision had been made on whether the campus would reopen for afternoon classes.

Ashley Moran, a freshman from Houston, said she was waiting to get into class when word quickly began spreading among students to leave immediately. She described the evacuation as ''orderly but tense.''

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

North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., also ordered a campus evacuation after a bomb threat Friday morning. But it was unclear whether the two threats were related.

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