NDSU lifts evacuation order after bomb threat

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota State University and The University of Texas at Austin lifted their evacuation orders Friday afternoon.

NDSU told all students and employees to leave campus Friday morning after it received a bomb threat.

Sophomore Al Dohman said she was in an architecture class when she heard the news.

“They have the alert system that calls or texts your phone.  We just heard there was a bomb threat and we were evacuated immediately. My class went to a park because we were actually working on a project for the park,” Dohman said.

More than 14,000 students attend NDSU. The university cleared its main and downtown campuses following the threat, along with all of its agricultural facilities.

“We heard from downtown, a lot of the ambulances and fire trucks were leaving downtown and  heading toward the main campus. As I was driving away we saw all the entrances to the campus were blocked with cop cars. It was more serious than anybody thought it was going to be,” Dohman said.

NDSU reopened campus at 1 p.m., and classes resumed at 2 p.m. It said university police spent the hour unlocking university buildings.

The evacuation order at NDSU came about the same time as one at The University of Texas at Austin, where officials also said they received a bomb threat. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said the agency is trying to determine if the two threats were related.

“We also heard that there was a bomb threat in Texas,” Dohman said. “People have been talking about how they could’ve have been related. Everybody was calling their parents and trying to figure out what was going on.”

In Austin, Friday’s bomb threat sent thousands of people streaming off campus as administrators warned students and faculty to “get as far away as possible.”

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-Qaida. The man said he had placed bombs all over 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.

TommieMedia contributed to this report.