University Responses to Bomb Threats Undergo Scrutiny

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday, John Cardoza, the chief of police on the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, got word that someone called a national crisis hotline and declared his intention to bring a bomb onto the campus. Cardoza sent word up the university’s chain of command and notified key law enforcement officials in different agencies. Roughly 13 hours after the threat was made, campus officers and a team of Texas Rangers surrounded a nearby apartment and arrested a student, charging him with making a terrorist threat. In the meantime, no sirens went off on campus. No mass text messages went off. Nobody evacuated. In other words, it was a far cry from the scene at the University of Texas at Austin, where a bomb threat on Friday prompted officials to empty all the campus buildings and cancel classes. Days later, no suspect has been apprehended. UT-Brownsville and UT-Austin are two of a handful of universities that have received bomb threats in recent days. Others include North Dakota State University on Friday and Louisiana State University on Monday — in both cases, the campuses were evacuated.

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