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Students allowed to return after Texas A&M bomb threat

October 19, 2012|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
  • A College Station Police officer directs traffic along University Drive as students evacuate following a bomb threat at the Texas A&M campus .
A College Station Police officer directs traffic along University Drive… (Stuart Villanueva, Bryan-College…)

HOUSTON -- Texas A&M University officials announced late Friday that they they were reopening the campus of about 60,000 students and staff after a day-long evacuation prompted by a bomb threat.

The school, Gov. Rick Perry’s alma mater, located about 95 miles north of Houston in College Station, received the threat in an email to the computing and information services center at about 11 a.m. CDT, campus police Lt. Allan Baron said during a briefing.

Campus police were notified 15 minutes later, and after another 15 minutes officials announced the evacuation as a "Code Maroon" warning. Everyone on campus was ordered to leave on foot, classes were canceled and temporary shelters opened at two local churches as police searched campus buildings.

University President R. Bowen Loftin took to Twitter and urged students to “Be considerate and let your families know that you are safe.” (This prompted a reply from aggiemom: “and this is why all the Aggie Moms love you, President Loftin.”) 

As the day wore on, Texas A&M students, known as “Aggies,” also vented their frustration and concern online, as did much of the “Aggieland” alumni community. Texas A&M's football team led by quarterback Johnathan Manziel, aka “Johnny Football,” was scheduled to play Louisiana State University on Saturday at home on Kyle Field at 11 a.m. Many wondered if the game--expected to draw tens of thousands--would be cancelled.

“I think this is all a big misunderstanding, someone just called to say that Johnny Football is ‘the bomb,’” tweeted Eric Blem, adding, “So I'm going to assume that I don't have a test today due to the bomb threat.”

“Guys seriously though,” tweeted Drew Nelson, “is Johnny Football ok?”

Some speculated that the bomb threat was tied to threats at other campuses elsewhere in Texas in recent weeks. Baron said it didn’t appear to be.

“This bomb threat epidemic is getting out of hand,” tweeted Texas A &M alumnus Luis Gonzalez of Dallas. “So who’s next?”

On Thursday, Texas State University in San Marcos, about 120 miles west of College Station, received a bomb threat targeting the admissions building that led to the evacuation of three buildings, according to spokesman Mark Hendricks. No bombs were located, but the investigation is ongoing, Hendricks said.

Last month, bomb threats prompted tens of thousands of people to evacuate at the University of Texas at Austin, A&M's rival and one of the largest universities in the country, and at schools in North Dakota and Ohio. No bombs were found at any of the campuses.

Late Friday, after Texas A&M officials announced the campus had been cleared, students learned that they could return for the night and that the football game and associated festivities were still on, including the “Midnight Yell” gathering at the stadium.

“There better be Midnight Yell,” tweeted someone posing at the campus’s Rudder Fountain. “'cause I feel like screaming.”

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