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University of Texas at Austin Evacuated After Bomb Threat

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The University of Texas evacuated its flagship, 50,000-student Austin campus after receiving a bomb threat.

A man with a middle-eastern accent called the school at 8:35 a.m. and said explosives “all over campus” would go off in 90 minutes, the university said in an e-mailed statement.

Shortly before 11 a.m., the university posted a Twitter message saying, “Time specified in phone threat has passed but we have not yet cleared all buildings. Decision to resume operations & classes will come shortly.”

The evacuation was ordered “out of an abundance of caution,” Rhonda Weldon, a spokeswoman for the university, said in the statement.

Michael Bang, a sophomore, said he left class as soon as the university sent out the alert in a text message.

“It was like controlled chaos,” Bang said in an interview. “Everyone was extremely confused.”

North Dakota State University in Fargo, an institution of 14,000, also received a bomb threat today and evacuated its campus, AP reported. It was unclear whether the incidents were related.

Colleges have revamped evacuation and security procedures after a 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech claimed 33 lives, including the perpetrator, a student at the school.

A government review panel found that campus police and senior university administrators should have issued a campus-wide notification of the threat.

Today’s bomb threats coincide with protests against the U.S. across the Arab world after the posting of an anti-Islamic video on the Internet, and a fatal attack on the U.S. ambassador in Libya.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Hechinger in Boston at jhechinger@bloomberg.net; Kathy Warbelow in Austin at kwarbelow@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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