UST Safe After Bomb Threats

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UST Safe After Bomb Threats
4/12/2013

Logo: UST AlertsThe University of St. Thomas campus is safe following two bomb threats to the campus on April 11.

 

St. Thomas received an email bomb threat for the Doherty Library in the early morning Thursday, and a second threat was called in to Harris County Sheriff’s Office later in the morning. The campus was evacuated about 10 a.m., and reopened at 3:30 p.m.

 

The Houston Police Department responded early, and bomb-sniffing dogs cleared Doherty Library and Link-Lee Mansion. In cooperation with HPD, Campus Security officers swept and cleared all buildings.

 

University President Dr. Robert Ivany said the safety of the campus community is the University’s priority.

 

“We have taken actions to protect the community,” Ivany said. “The Houston Police Department responded and provided us great support.  Thank you also to the UST Security team, staff and faculty who worked to ensure the safety of our campus.”

 

The investigation is ongoing

 

Director of Campus Security Daryl Bissett said the HPD investigation is ongoing, and he has asked to be informed if HPD identifies a suspect or presses charges.

 

“It’s very serious anytime you have a bomb threat against a school,” Chief Bissett said. “It’s a felony. You don’t get six months of academic probation. You get jail time.”

 

Chief Bissett said when an evacuation notice is sent, all faculty, staff and students should leave immediately.

 

“If you’re asked to leave, leave,” he said. “Then monitor the situation from your phone or the Web, so you can get back as soon as the school opens again.”

 

Chief Bissett encouraged anyone who has information about who made the threat to come forward.

 

“If you know who’s responsible for this bomb threat, please come forward,” he said.

 

How should you prepare to respond to an emergency on campus?

 

1)      Visit the Ready website, stthom.edu/ready, for resources
         on campus and personal safety, inclement weather and
         suspicious situations, including how to respond during a
         bomb threat.

2)      Update your contact information in the UST Alerts
         emergency notification system, via myStThom. Be sure to
         add your cell phone and a number to receive SMS text 
         messages.

3)      Be aware of suspicious activities, and report them to
         UST Security immediately at 713-525-3888. Add the number
         as a contact in your cell phone to be prepared in case of 
         an emergency.

 

UST notified campus via UST Alerts

 

The University deployed the first emergency notification system message to faculty, staff and students 8:31 a.m., following the first threat. The message was sent via Web, email, phone, SMS text, Facebook and Twitter. A second message at 10:09 a.m., urged everyone to evacuate campus immediately, until further notice. A third message at 1:30 p.m. announced the campus would reopen at 3:30 p.m. with classes, activities and Research Symposium to resume in the evening.

 

In an email to Dr. Ivany, graduate education student Mary Kay Sherman, who is also a 2010 Master of Education alumna, said she appreciated the notices she received through the UST Alerts emergency notification system.

 

“I received the three text messages and voice mails to my cell phone and home phone,” Sherman said. “Each time, the announcements were clearly spoken and precise. It is unfortunate that schools must have these types of procedures in place. I feel comfortable knowing that if there were ever another emergency at UST, I would be kept apprised of the situation.”


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