Update 5:14 p.m. A search for bombs following a bomb threat at the California State University, Los Angeles campus continued into late afternoon, Cal State L.A. spokesman Paul Browning said.
Campus authorities planned to notify everyone when it was safe to return via the campus’s social media and email notification system, Browning said.
Students opt into the notification system, so it’s possible that not everyone on campus or in campus housing got the original evacuation notification automatically.
Cal State L.A. police Chief Joe Curreri said he has obtained approval from the university to change the notification system to opt-out in order to broaden the number of students who receive emergency campus notices on their phones and computers.
Students evacuated from the dorms didn’t know where to go — they couldn’t go home, because they live in the dorms.
Student Tori Brown said she was conscious of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. That made her take the threat more seriously, she said.
Update 3:08 p.m. Police say a bomb squad search of the California State University, Los Angeles, campus following a telephone threat has found nothing.
Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Richard French says the search concluded at about 2:30 p.m. PDT Thursday, and no bomb was found.
The campus was ordered evacuated by the university president at about noon after a threatening phone call.
Students have been allowed back in their dorms, but the rest of the campus remains closed.
Previously: Cal State Los Angeles evacuated students Thursday due to a bomb threat.
The school posted on its Facebook and Twitter pages, “The CSULA campus is closed as of noon, April 18, as a precaution. Those on campus should evacuate immediately.”
They specified on Twitter that it was an emergency:
The campus is being evacuated due to an emergency. We don't have additonal information at this time.— CalStateLA (@CalStateLA) April 18, 2013
LAPD spokesman Christopher No confirmed that someone phoned in a bomb threat and said that the bomb squad was going through the campus as a precaution.
There is a large traffic backup with students trying to leave campus, with traffic leaving the campus "in droves," according to Cal State associate professor Jon Beaupre.
"[It's] looking a little scary," Beaupre said. He added that it was a credible threat, adding that everyone's on edge due to the recent Boston bombings.
Cal State L.A. student Tori Brown told KPCC she was told to get off campus, but didn't discover why until she got home.
"We were all outside thinking it was a fire drill or something of the sort and our class president told everybody to leave, get off campus," Brown said. "Everybody was trying to rush and get out. A lot of the people from the dorms didn't know where to go, cause they live here, so it's like where do you go? There was so much traffic I just walked home. I left my car here. And I saw the news and found out there was a bomb threat."
Brown wasn't alone. Many students tweeted about the traffic problems.
@kpcc at noon we were asked to evacuate shortly after a bomb squad arrived. Took an hour to get off campus many students left stranded.— Vincent Fullerton (@vinfullerton) April 18, 2013
There were also several helicopters circling the campus, according to Beaupre.
University spokesman Paul Browning says the university will likely not reopen Thursday.
L.A. County High School for the Arts is located on the CSULA campus and was also evacuated. They sent an email to parents, writing, "We have instructed all students to go home by public transportation or carpool. If you are picking up your student you will have to pick them up on the perimeter of campus as CSULA Police will not allow us on campus."
Cal State L.A. has about 20,000 students.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Browning wanted to change from an opt-in to an opt-out emergency notification system, which was incorrect.