University erred in handling bomb threat

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The Austin Police Bomb Squad investigates a bomb threat at Shawarma Republique food trailer on 24th Street. A man being treated for psychiatric disorder called in two bomb threats in the West Campus area Tuesday morning.
The Austin Police Bomb Squad investigates a bomb threat at Shawarma Republique food trailer on 24th Street. A man being treated for psychiatric disorder called in two bomb threats in the West Campus area Tuesday morning.

Remember the bomb threat that happened two days ago? Yeah --neither do I. It's because University students weren't notified of it via email or text, as is the case in most emergency situations. There were murmurings of it here and there, but without an official statement by UT officials on the subject, many students remained in the dark. (Pun intended.)  

University administrators waited more than three hours to notify students of two bomb threats reported in West Campus. When students finally did hear about it, word was sent through a single tweet sent from the University’s official Twitter account. Students never received a campus-wide email or text alert about the bomb threats. 

This, to me, is inexcusable. Forget the argument about whose jurisdiction the threat fell under (Austin Police Department or UTPD) or whether the threat was on campus or not. When something happens that endangers the lives of other people, especially in a student-dense area like West Campus, the general public deserves to know. Surely, sending out a text message or email can't be that difficult.  

Two years ago, in 2012, this same thing happened. A bomb threat was called in and UT officials neglected to alert students. Now, this past Tuesday, history has repeated itself, and that does not bode well for the future of UTPD's relationship with its public.  

UTPD needs to make more of an effort to keep UT students, staff and faculty updated about any and all possible dangers, regardless of what APD says. There is an undeniable obligation that UTPD has to the public it protects. Keeping a line of communication open is the only way that trust can be built and we can all feel safer.