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Friday, October 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bomb threat at GU quickly resolved

High school students from Coeur d’Alene made the bus ride to Gonzaga University for a tour only to find out the campus was closed due to a bomb threat. (Dan Pelle)
High school students from Coeur d’Alene made the bus ride to Gonzaga University for a tour only to find out the campus was closed due to a bomb threat. (Dan Pelle)

Gonzaga University officials are working with the Spokane Police Department to determine the source of a bomb threat that cleared the Spokane campus for several hours Thursday morning.

Police said in a news release that they received a call just before 7 a.m. from a “male” stating there was a bomb on the Gonzaga campus. School officials said the threat was called in from an off-campus telephone number.

All campus buildings were evacuated until they could be inspected and cleared for re-entry by students and staff. The Spokane Police Department’s Explosives Disposal Unit assisted in the search.

The situation was resolved by about 10 a.m., she said, and classes that would have been at 10:30 or 10:40 resumed, said Gonzaga spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn.

Sophomore Daniel Schmidt was in a religion class around 8 a.m., when the teacher received a call about the threat and the whole class was directed to go to a corner of the classroom in “lockdown” mode. They soon were told to leave the building and get away from campus.

Schmidt went to his dorm to check emails while he waited for more news.

“All of the teachers were pretty calm,” he said.

Hahn said Thursday’s incident exposed a problem with the university’s alert system, which sends messages en masse to students who sign up to receive emergency messages.

Messages sent by text and email worked correctly, but one voice message did not provide correct information.

“We did have a technical problem with our first alert that resulted in incongruent text and voice messages,” Hahn said.

She said the problem was resolved, and that the university will work with system providers on Monday to understand what happened.

This story was changed on September 28, 2014 to make it clearer when the problem with the emergency alert system was resolved.

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