University Was Shut Down For 8 Hours As Campus Was Swept

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An evacuation of the Princeton University campus following an earlier bomb threat was lifted Tuesday evening.

A total of 6,900 people were forced to leave on- and off-campus university buildings, after the university received the threat against multiple buildings on campus around 9 a.m., Princeton spokesman Martin Mbugua said. The all-clear was given at 6:25 p.m.

After assessing the threat, Mbugua said the school decided to order an evacuation at around 10:30 a.m. and posted a message on its website:

“There has been a bomb threat to multiple unspecified campus buildings. Please evacuate the campus and all university offices immediately and go home unless otherwise directed by your supervisor. Public Safety officers and Princeton Police will direct drivers leaving the campus and those without cars will be directed to evacuation sites. You will receive an update later today. Do not return to campus for any reason until advised otherwise.”

In a message posted on the university’s website, no explosive devices were found following a campus-wide sweep using bomb-sniffing dogs.

Police spent the afternoon searching facilities for possible explosives, Kelly Hessedal of KYW-TV, Philadelphia reported.

“I first tried to read it twice to make sure I was reading it correctly,” said Princeton staff member Arthur Miller.

But he was indeed reading the chilling email correctly.

“That’s when I saw they had the tapes up to keep people off campus. I saw people standing at various places where you go into campus, wearing the vests,” Miller said.

“I think at that point, we were still trying to grasp what was happening,” added Princeton student Harrison Lee.

Though most students are home for the summer, Lee is among those who remain. He said he is doing research at the school, and he had to evacuate.

Police directed drivers off school grounds, while those without vehicles were directed to three evacuation centers.

One staff member said everyone remained calm.

“Everything was very organized,” he said. “There was no reason to be afraid.”

By around noon Tuesday, the university said all faculty and staff had been directed to go home or assemble at evacuation sites.

“I’ve worked here for over 23 years. I was a student here in the ’70s,” Miller said. “And I remember buildings being evacuated when you get threats, because that happens. But I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Mbugua said the university Department of Public Safety worked with local, regional, state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate the threat.

The bomb threat at Princeton was one of several similar threats across the country.

TigerTransit service at Princeton has also been suspended until Wednesday morning.

“The University takes all threats to the safety and well-being of our community members and visitors seriously and is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation,” the school said in a statement on its website Tuesday afternoon.

The Ivy League school is the fourth-oldest college in the U.S. and is approximately 52 miles south of New York City.

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