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Hundreds of U of G students writing final exams evacuated after bomb threat

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Staff and students have been cleared to re-enter three University of Guelph buildings that were evacuated Monday morning due to a bomb threat.

In a media release issued at 3:08 p.m., Guelph police said no explosive device was found.

Around 600 students were writing exams in Rozanski Hall when the fire alarm went off around 9:30 a.m. and they were told to evacuate.

“Our teacher just calmly told us to leave our papers, leave our bags and just walk out, do the regular fire drill stuff – nothing too crazy," second-year student Liam Calhoun said. "Then everything got taped off, we were just told to stay away from the building."

In a message sent out via the university’s alert system at 10:20 a.m., Campus Safety ordered the evacuation of Rozanski Hall, the Bullring, and the Landscape Architecture building due to a “security risk.”

No details about the nature of the threat were released until the update from police came out later in the day.

A Campus Fire Safety vehicle on scene at the University of Guelph on April 24, 2023. (Krista Sharpe/CTV Kitchener)

“We’re just waiting around, waiting for anyone to give us any kind of information about anything because all our stuff is in there,” another student, Nathan Daxon told CTV News around 1 p.m., noting he was unable to contact anyone because his phone was still inside the exam room.

Calhoun was writing his last exam of the semester and getting ready to leave for the summer. He said it's a bit disappointing he’ll now have to stay longer.

"It’s not the best thing, but honestly not much you can do about it," he said. "You just keep on going, and hopefully, they figure it all out, and everyone’s safe."

Students were allowed back into the buildings just after 2 p.m.

POLICE INVESTIGATION

Guelph police said the threat came in to their dispatch centre around 9:30 a.m., and the university made the decision to evacuate the buildings.

A canine unit from Halton regional police, which is trained in detecting explosives, searched the building and found no explosive device, police said.

“We want the community to know that we do take these threats seriously,” police spokesperson Scott Tracey said. “It’s very distressing for students and faculty on campus and obviously a tremendous use of resources, both university resources and police resources, to properly investigate this.”

EXAMS RESCHEDULED

Exams scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Rozanski Hall have been rescheduled to Wednesday, April 26.

The university said exams set to take place at Rozanski Hall at 2:30 p.m. would happen in alternate locations. Exams scheduled for Rozanski Hall at 7 p.m. will proceed in alternative locations. Instructors will notify students of the updated exam location.

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