UPDATE 5:20 p.m.: A notification sent out at 5:09 p.m. through the campus WarnMe emergency alert system said a large portion of the campus has been searched with no evidence of any suspicious materials, and that “search efforts will continue on a limited basis” into Tuesday evening.
UCPD responded to a suspicious call regarding a bomb threat on campus Tuesday morning, though no suspicious materials had been identified as of 2 p.m.
Though the threat — which was made via anonymous phone call at 9:20 a.m. — is believed to be a hoax, a campus alert was dispatched to students, staff and faculty shortly after 1 p.m. notifying them that police were searching campus buildings for the reported bomb.
“An anonymous caller tipped off the police this morning briefly, saying that there is a bomb on campus,” said Claire Holmes, associate vice chancellor for public affairs. “We immediately reached out to the community and building coordinators. We don’t have reason to believe it’s true, since there have been hoaxes in the past regarding the same issue.”
WarnMe alerts will be transmitted in groups in order to reach students, staff and faculty. The UC Berkeley Facebook page has been updated, and students may leave campus if they wish to, according to a campuswide email released this afternoon.
Though police had been searching campus with dogs Tuesday afternoon, they have not yet come across anything suspicious.
During the day, some professors on campus cancelled class in response to the threat while others continued their sessions without disruption.
“It was scary because I’ve never witnessed such a scare before,” said UC Berkeley freshman Annie Chang. “My professors didn’t really cancel class but we were told that we may leave if we felt like it.”
According to UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode, other campuses around the country received false bomb threats recently, including one in Texas and others on the East Coast.
A separate bomb threat was reported on the north side of campus in May when the Berkeley Police Department received a call from a community member reporting a ticking sound in his van. A bomb squad investigated the van and found no explosive device.
Multiple other college campuses across the U.S. have also received bomb threats in recent weeks.
Tennessee State University officials received a bomb threat Tuesday morning leading to students being evacuated from the Avon Williams campus at about 9 a.m, according to The Tennessee Tribune.
Hiram College in northeast Ohio was evacuated on Sept. 14, although no suspicious materials were ultimately found, according to SFGate.
On Sept. 14 students at the University of Texas Austin campus were also evacuated after a bomb threat was made by a man who claimed to have ties to al-Qaeda, the Huffington Post reports.
Staff writer Gautham Thomas contributed to this report.
Contact Ailya Naqvi at [email protected].
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