SAN MARCOS — Texas State University on Thursday became the latest in a string of universities across the nation to experience a bomb scare.
School officials sent an emergency alert to students and staff by email and text about 9:40 a.m. urging them to avoid the admissions building near downtown San Marcos.
Two nearby dorm buildings — the Tower and San Jacinto residence halls — were evacuated at about 10 a.m. to create an 800-square-foot safety perimeter at the request of the Austin Police Department’s bomb squad, which assisted Texas State officials along with the FBI, said university spokesman Jayme Blaschke.
The dorms, which house about 900 students altogether, were reopened about noon, but the admissions building was closed for the day.
Classes were uninterrupted.
A Houston-area admissions counselor who works from home received the threat by email at 7:21 a.m., said Blaschke, adding that the university doesn’t believe she was specifically targeted.
She notified her supervisors when she noticed the threat, and they alerted the University Police Department at 8:48 a.m., Blaschke said.
The university is working with the FBI to try to learn who made the threat. That person could face felony charges, said Capt.Daniel Benitez of the university’s police department.
“With all the bomb threats around the nation of late, we’re taking it very seriously and going with all due diligence to ensure the safety of our students, our faculty and staff,” Blaschke said.
In September, the University of Texas at Austin evacuated all buildings, and classes were canceled for the day after someone called in a bomb threat. UT subsequently faced criticism for the time it took to notify students and staff.
Had the UT threat been real, those on campus would have had just minutes to evacuate before the threatened detonation time.
Blaschke said Texas State’s response was delayed because the threat went to a person off campus. Nearly an hour lapsed between the time the university police department learned of the threat and the time the initial emergency alert was sent.
Asked to elaborate on the reason for the delay, Blaschke said, “Once the threat was evaluated as a real issue, the campus community was alerted in short order.”
Louisiana State University, North Dakota State University and others have received similar threats this school year.
Twitter: @KoltenParker @jlloydster