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NMU reopens; threat checked

February 3, 2011
Daily Press

MARQUETTE (AP) - Northern Michigan University says classes will resume today after a threat prompted officials to close the Marquette campus and the city's public schools.

The university issued a statement Wednesday night saying the FBI and other agencies have determined there was no longer a clear threat. It said an investigation found a similar blog post also was directed at other U.S. universities and says there was no evidence the threat originated on campus.

"We would not make the decision to reopen campus if we did not feel it was safe to do so," said President Les Wong. He said campus security would increase patrols, "but we think the new information uncovered tonight diminishes the threat to NMU."

Campus police received a phone tip shortly before 8 a.m. about a threat anonymously posted in a blog, university spokeswoman Kristi Evans said. She had no details on the nature of the threat but said it appeared to target students, faculty and others.

"It didn't identify any particular part of campus, so the university decided to close the whole campus for the day," Evans told The Associated Press.

After analyzing the threat, authorities decided it was credible enough to justify shutting down the university, Evans said. They transmitted notices on laptop computers provided to all 9,400 students at the university. Text messages were sent to cell phones and office buildings were evacuated.

The 2,300 students living on campus were asked to remain in their residence halls, which were locked and monitored. They were allowed to visit dining halls later in the day. People not on campus were asked to stay away.

Although the threat did not mention local public schools, interim superintendent Deborah Veiht said they also were closed as a precaution on advice of police. Marquette Senior High School is in the block next to the university campus.

The system's 3,000 students were bused home, although parents were allowed to pick up their children. Veiht said there was "gridlock" at the middle school as a crush of parents arrived.

"We're just making sure that our students are safe. You have to take everything like this seriously," Tony Retaskie, president of the Marquette Area Public Schools, told The Mining Journal of Marquette.

Security personnel were monitoring entrances to Marquette General Hospital, which also is next door to the university, the newspaper reported.

 
 

 

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