Students return to Louisiana State University after bomb scare

Reuters News

9/17/2012 1:32:56 PM - Reuters News

By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Students at Louisiana State University were allowed to return to their dorms late on Monday after police swept residential halls on the campus following a bomb threat.

Dining and recreational facilities also were reopened, LSU said in a statement.

"LSU and law enforcement personnel continue to methodically search the campus and have been returning buildings to normal operations throughout the evening," the statement said.

"There are fewer than 20 buildings left to search and LSU will continue to update the campus community as information becomes available," it said.

The university was evacuated following a telephoned threat to the East Baton Rouge Parish emergency center at 10:32 a.m. (1532 GMT) and the center relayed the information to campus police, said university spokesman Ernie Ballard.

University Chancellor William Jenkins made the decision to evacuate the campus, and LSU alerted students, faculty and staff via text message at about 11:30 a.m. (1630 GMT), Ballard said.

Ballard could not say how many of LSU's 29,000 students and 4,700 faculty and staff were on campus at the time of the threat.

As word of the threat spread, public school officials placed three nearby elementary schools and one high school on lockdown, meaning no one was allowed to enter or leave, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

Public schools spokeswoman Sonya Gordon said students would be allowed to leave at their regular times, unless there was confirmation that a threat exists.

On Friday bomb threats were phoned in to the University of Texas at Austin and North Dakota State University, prompting evacuations of both campuses. Students returned to those campuses hours later after police investigated and found no bombs.

Louisiana State Police were talking to their counterparts in other areas where university bomb threats were reported last week to determine whether there were similarities, Marie said.

(Additional reporting by James Kelleher and Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)