POSTED: 07:37 a.m. HST, Sep 17, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 01:03 p.m. HST, Sep 17, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. » Thousands of students, professors and workers were evacuated from Louisiana State University's main campus today following a bomb threat, school officials said.
The evacuation was prompted by a threat phoned into 911 about 10:32 a.m., university spokeswoman Kristine Calongne said. Calongne said the caller didn't direct the threat to any specific area of the campus.
The university issued a statement on its website announcing the evacuation an hour later, then distributed the information through text messages, emails and social media.
"A bomb threat has been reported on the LSU campus," the statement said. "Please evacuate as calmly and quickly as possible."
There are 30,000 students, professors and university employees located on the Baton Rouge campus, but it was not clear how many were present at the time of the threat.
"Monday ... is a very big class day, so I think the majority of that group was probably on campus at the time," Calongne said.
By early afternoon today, the LSU campus was largely deserted with roads leading onto campus blocked by police. The major arteries heading away from campus were congested, packed with traffic.
Catherine Lacoste, an 18-year-old freshman and architecture major, said she received notification of the bomb threat through the emergency text message system while working in a studio on a project. She double-checked the information and then evacuated. She didn't seem worried about the threat, however.
"I'm going to go home, take a nap and hopefully campus will be open again when I wake up," Lacoste said.
State police bomb technicians were on the scene, said Louisiana State Police Capt. Doug Cain. He said authorities were talking to their counterparts in Texas, North Dakota and Ohio to see if there were any similarities to threats universities in those states received Friday.
University officials in those states also evacuated their campuses, but police found no explosives.
Calongne said she doesn't know of any other time the entire flagship university campus was evacuated.
"I've been at LSU since 1990 — if you count my student years — and I don't ever recall us having an evacuation of the whole campus," she said.