EL PASO, Texas – A campus-wide evacuation was ordered as a precaution at the University of Texas at El Paso on Tuesday after officials received word of a bomb threat, but police said there was no immediate danger.
UTEP students and staff got a text message at about 2 p.m. warning of a bomb threat and telling them to leave campus. Students were seen hurrying away shortly afterward, and the roads around campus were congested with traffic.
UTEP Police Chief Cliff Walsh declined to detail the threat or say whether police had a suspect, citing their ongoing investigation. But he said the campus appeared to be safe.
"This is a precautionary measure that we took out of prudence and what can transpire around the world," Walsh said.
Classes were expected to resume Wednesday evening. UTEP has more than 22,000 students enrolled.
Students seemed to react to the evacuation with more confusion and bemusement than fear. Conor Bellegrade said he was in the library doing homework when he got the text message about the evacuation and then an email. But when he looked around to see what others were doing, he didn't see anyone bolting for the doors.
A few minutes later voices somewhere in the building started shouting to leave the library, he said.
"It was jammed packed" with everyone trying to leave campus at the same time, he said.
Sophomore AC Patterson was driving to campus to turn in a paper and was surprised the roads into the school were so congested.
"There was a bunch of traffic," Patterson said. "Everyone was trying to leave campus."
He didn't make it to campus with the paper, but he added: "I think the teacher will understand."