POSTED: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 3:32pm
UPDATED: Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 4:13pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — The following is a letter issued by LSU Interim Chancellor William Jinkins regarding the evacuation of LSU's campus on Monday, Sept. 17.
"The LSU community was tested greatly by the bomb threat and ensuing evacuation on Monday, and I am proud of the response of everyone touched by this unfortunate event.
"I have been asked often in the last several days if there was any one thing that prompted the evacuation, but the decision was really quite simple. The safety of our students, faculty and staff had been threatened, and the safety of our community trumps all else.
"My thanks to all of you who heeded the message to leave campus. By all accounts, our communication plan was effective as our population left the 250 campus buildings with quickness but with patience, and LSU Police went to work, securing the campus and investigating the threat with the help of multiple law enforcement agencies.
"Searching 250 buildings is no small task, but with the organization of the Emergency Operations Center, LSU Police and its supporting agencies and the assistance of LSU personnel – especially Facility Services and building coordinators across campus –students were able to return to their residence halls and dining halls by 7 p.m. By 11 p.m., all remaining buildings were deemed ready for normal operations. Tuesday morning, all was back to normal.
"Such a monumental task does not come without dedication and perseverance by many. I cannot thank you enough for your cooperation in dealing with this unprecedented event.
"An evacuation of this magnitude also does not come without problems. Moving a population of 25,000 to 30,000 people off the campus is no small feat. Though it was accomplished in about 80 minutes, traffic was snarled for a time and there were challenges for parents – many of them LSU employees – in retrieving their children from the Lab School and Child Care Center. All of these issues will be reviewed, and we will learn from this experience in the event we ever face a similar unfortunate circumstance like this again.
"We have been asked about the time it took to issue the evacuation message. The initial call did not come directly to campus, so there was a certain interval between the call and the time the information reached my office. Be assured that by the time the necessary information was gathered and evaluated, the decision to evacuate and the communication to the campus were made immediately.
"Finally, I must express my thanks and admiration to LSU Police and the many law enforcement agencies that brought to justice within 48 hours the offending caller who set this event in motion. With good police work and the use of modern technology, they quickly brought to resolution an event that captured national attention.
"Any institution's most important commitment to its faculty, staff and students is to make every effort to protect their safety. That commitment is a community effort, and that is why we so often stress the motto 'If you see something, say something.' This was an instance when the entire community came together to protect LSU. My enduring thanks go out to each of you."