ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – There have been no reports of threats at state, New York City and private campuses after other scares at colleges in Texas and North Dakota, state officials said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Friday saying the safety of the students is a top priority.
University campuses in Texas and North Dakota were cleared Friday after phoned-in bomb threats prompted evacuations and officials warned students and faculty to leave quickly. No bombs were found on either campus by early afternoon. It was not clear whether the threats were related.
The University of Texas received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man claiming to be with al-Qaida who said he had placed bombs all over the 50,000-student Austin campus, according to University of Texas spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon. He claimed the bombs would go off in 90 minutes and all buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m. as a precaution, Weldon said.
The deadline passed without incident, and the university reopened all buildings by noon. Classes were canceled for the rest of the day, but other university activities were to resume by the evening.
North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said 20,000 people also were evacuated from his school’s main and downtown campuses in Fargo after the school received its threat. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said a call that included a “threat of an explosive device” came in about 9:45 a.m., but he declined to give further details. He said the agency was trying to determine if the two campus threats were related.
NDSU buildings reopened about 1 p.m. and classes were set to resume an hour later, said Bresciani, adding that the campus had been “deemed safe.”
Also Friday, Valparaiso University in Indiana increased security and posted a warning to students on its website after a vague threat was discovered scrawled in some graffiti. The school says the threat claimed “dangerous and criminal activity” would occur Friday during the university’s daily chapel break.
The FBI and local authorities searched the campus but found nothing suspicious.
Cuomo said security officials in his administration and at the schools are monitoring the situation.
“SUNY and CUNY campuses have been alerted to the threats happening nationally and are following standard procedures to ensure the safety and security of students, faculty, and our campus communities,” Cuomo said. “I encourage all students, faculty and New Yorkers to remain vigilant and to contact local law enforcement in case of an emergency.”
Officials have advised campuses to be ready to activate emergency plans if needed.
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