The University of Texas at Austin had a bomb scare this morning. Thank God it turned out to be a hoax and that classes were cancelled for everybody. Yet, while everybody moved forward with their extended weekends, three concerns came to the forefront of many students’ minds.
Why did President Powers and the administration wait so long to finally evacuate the campus?
Authorities received a bomb threat over the phone at 8:35a.m. The caller claimed that the “bombs all over campus” would go off in 90 minutes. An evacuation order for all buildings on campus was issued at 9:53a.m., roughly 78 minutes later. If the threats were real and accurate, that would have allotted 12 minutes to clear the entire Forty Acres.
Decisions like these need to happen a lot more quickly. It is much better to be safe than sorry. Had the threats been real, President Powers would have surely lost his job for such a prolonged delay – a punishment I would deem light.
Was “Middle Eastern Accent” supposed to alarm the UT Community at a higher level during the evacuation?
In her initial description of the threat, UT Communications Director Rhonda Weldon noted that the caller had a “Middle Eastern accent.” I love transparency, but there are simply some things that are not necessary for disclosure during a bomb scare. If the caller had a “Midwestern accent,” would the threat have been taken any less seriously? Would that have been less scary?
I do not believe Ms. Weldon is racist, but I do believe she had a total lack of judgment in her statement.
Why were the text alerts so sloppy?
The emergency texts sent out by the University were pretty alarming… about the reading and writing levels of those charged with communications.
Text at 10:52a.m.:
The time specified in the phone threat has past, but all buildings are not cleared yet A decision on resuming ops including classes is imminent [sic]
Text at 11:44a.m.:
buildings may be retenter today at noon, todays classes are canceled, and all other activities will resume at 5:00PM [sic]