Princeton University evacuates campus after bomb threat

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 11, 2013 10:52 AM
Princeton University evacuates campus after bomb threat

By Edith Honan and Francesca Trianni

(Reuters) - Princeton University evacuated its sprawling campus in New Jersey on Tuesday after receiving a bomb threat to multiple buildings, the latest of threats that have disrupted schools, government buildings and air travel across the country the past two days.

"This is NOT a test. There has been a bomb threat to multiple unspecified campus buildings," the university tweeted about 10:30 a.m.

The threat came a week after Princeton's commencement, and a university spokesman said about 6,900 people were on campus, half of the university staff.

A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Texas from Los Angeles with 143 passengers aboard was forced to land in Phoenix on Monday after a telephoned bomb threat. Early on Tuesday, Richmond International Airport in Virginia was evacuated after a threatening phone call, but a sweep of the airport located no dangers, officials said.

In Georgia, two state buildings in downtown Atlanta, including one housing the Supreme Court of Georgia, were evacuated due to a bomb threat, authorities said. Both have since been declared safe with people allowed back in.

On Tuesday afternoon, the University of New Hampshire said police and FBI were investigating a "non-specific bomb threat" telephoned in to its campus shortly before noon. School officials later said it was a hoax.

In an afternoon update, Princeton officials said bomb-sniffing dogs had been brought to the scene, and that a full search of campus facilities would likely take several hours.

"We are doing everything we can to have the campus open this evening for students who live on campus in residential facilities," Princeton spokesman Dan Day said.

A spokesman for Governor Chris Christie said the governor was not in Princeton, which is home to the executive mansion, Drumthwacket.

Princeton, an Ivy League university 50 miles southwest of New York City, takes its name from the New Jersey town where it has been located for more than a century.

Students who had evacuated were crammed into cafes, where many of them sat working on laptops, students reached by telephone said.

Police referred all questions to the university. The school said it was updating the campus community through its Twitter account and web page.

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Nick Zieminski)