NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University reopened late Thursday afternoon after an anonymous report of a bomb threat prompted authorities to close the Norfolk campus for most of the day.
Officials said in an initial alert sent out early Thursday morning the campus would open at 10 a.m. due to a reported threat. An updated alert sent a short time later announced the closure. All classes and activities were canceled, and all offices and building remained closed as police investigated the threat.
Students were asked to stay in their residence halls, while staff was asked not to report to the campus, during the closure. ODU officials said in a news release arrangements were made to deliver food to student residents.
“Ive never had an experience like this at all with the college. I mean I’ve always thought it was pretty safe, but I guess anything can happen,” said ODU sophomore Myles Clark.
ODU graduate student Ivan Trent said, “It’s really annoying that it has to be like this, but I’m proud that the university closed the university, itself down for safety of students. I’d rather have that than anything else.”
The ODU women’s basketball game against the Longwood Lancers, which was slated for 11 a.m. at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, was canceled. A wrestling match between the Monarchs and the NC State Wolfpack was also canceled.
Thursday’s women’s basketball game was scheduled to be the Norfolk Public Schools Education Day game at ODU. School officials posted about the cancelation on Facebook.
ODU police gave an all-clear after completing a sweep of the campus, reopening some buildings and services: Webb University Center, Dining Services, Student Recreation Center, Learning Commons at Perry Library and Monarch Transit and Safe Ride.
All classes and other activities are scheduled to resume Friday.
ODU President John R. Broderick released this statement Friday morning about the threat, and the school’s response:
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
I am grateful that we have safely returned to our classrooms and offices at Old Dominion University today.
As you know, Old Dominion received an anonymous bomb threat early Thursday morning. We canceled classes and closed the campus for most of the day to ensure that our Police Department, working with other law enforcement agencies, could thoroughly investigate the threat and secure the campus.
I know this caused inconvenience and worry for students, families and employees. But the safety of our community will always be our No. 1 priority, and we must take all threats seriously. Unfortunately, college campuses are not immune to the dangers facing society. Earlier this week, Texas Southern University evacuated its campus after a similar bomb threat.
Throughout the day, Old Dominion followed its emergency crisis plan and protocols. And I want to thank employees and students, especially those who live in residence halls, for following the guidance provided by our ODU Alerts.
Special thanks go to our Police Department and partnering law enforcement agencies; our Aramark dining staff, for providing lunches to students on campus, and our staff care team, which efficiently responded to phone calls and ODU Cares emails. If you have additional questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even as we return to business as usual, I encourage you to always report anything suspicious to the Police Department at 757-683-4000 or via the LiveSafe app, which you can download free of charge.
As members of the Monarch Community, we all work together to maintain a strong, safe campus.
John R. Broderick