VALPARAISO | The threat of a "dangerous and criminal activity" apparently has passed at Valparaiso University, but an investigation into the threat will continue, according to a VU official.
The threat came in the form of graffiti, discovered by a member of the faculty between noon and 1 p.m. Thursday in Neils Science Center, in the center of the campus.
VU Provost Mark Schwehn declined to give specifics regarding the wording of the threat, but said it was not a bomb threat. The threat however, specifically stated it would occur during the university's daily chapel break -- a break in classes at 11:15 a.m. to allow students and faculty the opportunity to attend a short prayer service at the Chapel of the Resurrection.
Schwehn said investigators had no reason to believe the threat at VU was connected with bomb threats Friday that caused the evacuation of campuses at the University of Texas, North Dakota State University.
Schwehn said university officials immediately reached out to the Valparaiso University Police Department, as well as other local police agencies and the FBI.
Officers and police dogs combed all major buildings on campus Thursday night, and found nothing, he said.
Students and faculty were informed of the threat at 6 a.m. through a campus alert system, which uses text alerts and emails and message on the VU website.
When nothing was found during a sweep of the campus, VU officials decided not to cancel classes, but for police to maintain a visible presence on throughout the morning.
"This is a community that cares deeply about the health and safety of each and every member — students, faculty, and staff," Schwehn said in a written statement. "I know the students are tremendously relieved that the threat has passed. We're very thankful that students, faculty, and staff are safe."
Tens of thousands of people had to leave college campuses in Texas and North Dakota on Friday as officials ordered precautionary evacuations after bomb threats that turned out to be false.
The Austin campus of the University of Texas was shut for hours, as was the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo. Both schools resumed operations later in the day.
The evacuation of the 51,000-student campus in Austin was prompted by a telephone call from a man, described as having a Middle Eastern accent, who said that bombs had been planted on the campus. The threat occurred during demonstrations in the Middle East against the United States, sparked by a movie maligning the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation saw the threats as “largely local matters,” special agent Jason Pack said in a telephone interview from Washington.
A third evacuation order for much-smaller Hiram College in northeast Ohio was issued hours later and remained in effect Friday evening.
- The Associated Press contributed to this story.