Student lies about bomb threat to get out of class

A bomb threat phoned in around 7 a.m. Tuesday was deemed false an hour and half later, but not before one building on the University of MinnesotaâÄôs West Bank campus was evacuated and another was locked down. Classes in Anderson Hall were evacuated at around 8 a.m. and the Hubert H. Humphrey Center was in the process of being evacuated when the threat was deemed false, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. A female University student phoned in the threat, stating that she overheard âÄúthree Somali malesâÄù discussing bombs in the two buildings. University police Chief Greg Hestness said upon investigating the claim police found that the student who reported the threat was âÄúbeing untruthful.âÄù Around 8:30 a.m., the student confessed to making up the threat after police challenged her on inconsistencies in her story, Miner said. Students were then let back into the building and classes resumed. Miner said it appeared that the student had classes in both Anderson Hall and the Humphrey Center on Tuesday and made up the story to get out of them. About a dozen officers responded to the threat and a team of bomb-sniffing dogs was en route, Miner said. He said this was the first bomb threat of the academic year, to his knowledge. Hestness said police didnâÄôt werenâÄôt sure about the threatâÄôs credibility, “but we wanted to err on the side of caution.” The student has not been formally charged, but authorities are investigating charges of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor offense. University spokesman Dan Wolter said that even if no criminal charges are filed, the student could still face discipline from the University. He said the disciplinary process is managed by the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity but itâÄôs too early to know how this particular case will be handled. The studentâÄôs choice to identify the men in her reported threat as Somali was troubling, Miner said. He said he questioned what prompted the student to include a racial descriptor. Wolter called the situation âÄúunfortunateâÄù and said he hopes this does not lead to other issues in the campus community. A TXT-U alert about the incident was not sent, but one was ready to go, said Terry Cook , director of Emergency Management at the University. There were doubts about the credibility of the claim, Cook said, and while the alert was being prepared, police confirmed the threat was false. — Paul Cordes, David Introwitz and Tiffany Smith contributed to this report