Dr. Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, justified the university’s decision to hold the evacuation ten minutes before the bomb was set to explode in a noon press conference on Friday. The university scheduled the press conference at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center to discuss the bomb threat as well the university’s response.
Powers opened the press conference with a declaration the university was safe.
“We are allowing people to go back into the buildings,” he said.
Powers said university officials evaluated the threat before taking action, leading to a decision to evacuate students fifteen minutes before the threat was to be executed. The order to clear campus buildings came 75 minutes after authorities say the threatening call was made. According to the UT Emergency Alert system, the bomb threat was called in at 8:35, but students did not receive an alert until 9:50.
Powers said the threat was unspecified, and so university officials could not accurately assess its credibility.
“We could not assure ourselves this was not a credible threat,” Powers said. “We could not assure ourselves the other way.”
Though authorities had been searching for bombs in the meantime, Powers said officials decided the “prudent thing” to do was to clear all campus buildings
“I think students were safe at 10:00,” Powers said. “We always re-evaluate how we’re responding to situations.”
Powers said the university always tries to be a clear as possible, reevaluating alert methods for their students after every situation.
“We always try to be a clear as we can, appropriate, given the circumstances,” Powers said. Powers said they used sirens and text messages to alert students and faculty members on campus on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story