Early Friday morning, the University of Texas at Austin evacuated all of their buildings after receiving bomb threats from a man who claimed he was from Al Qaeda. Officials told students and faculty to get as far away as possible from the campus as possible. Among the thousands of students rushing to get off campus was Jessica Lee Garcia, a sophomore at the university. She was just arriving to campus when she heard sirens go off.
“I was walking to my first class, which was at ten, and the professor said no, you cannot come in, everyone has to evacuate,” Garcia says.
Police say the evacuation was prompted by a phoned-in threat from a man who said he placed bombs set to detonate in 90 minutes all over the Austin campus. Garcia says students were not given enough time to evacuate, given the call came in at 8:35am and all of the buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m.
“They only gave us fifteen minutes to evacuate. Traffic was a mess. There were students and faculty everywhere,” Garcia says.
The Austin campus is the largest in the University of Texas system and has around 50,000 students. Garcia describes all of those students trying to evacuate with Texas police blocking off all traffic heading in to the UT campus at the same time as “crazy.”
“My friends and I we were just like, we really didn’t get enough time. I couldn’t even find them,” Garcia says.
No bombs have been found at the Austin campus. Classes are cancelled for the rest of the day, though Garcia says all other activities are set to resume on Friday at 5pm. North Dakota State University also received a bomb threat and evacuated its 14,000-student campus this morning. It is unknown whether the two threats were related.