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Friday, April 19, 2024

A false alarm stirred chaos on UF campus Thursday as the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office’s Bomb Squad was called to assist the University Police Department to investigate what was called a “suspicious package.”

It was “research material” on the first floor of Turlington Hall that caused hundreds of students to flood out of the building when law enforcement ordered an evacuation of the building around 12:30 p.m, UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan said. The threat was called in at 11:26 a.m., Roldan said.

Roldan didn’t have further information about what the material was or what department it belonged to. It’s unclear who called in the threat, Roldan said.

A string of UF alerts kept the university community in tune to updates from the investigation, the latest calling an all clear at 3:03 p.m. That’s how Angelica Caraballo-Santiago, a 24-year-old recent UF grad, knew what was going on after she left the UF academic resources tutoring room, she said.

“It happened all at once,” Caraballo-Santiago said. “It was very unclear what was happening because the alarm went off, and nothing was said.”

Ashley Muscolino, a UF criminology and economic junior, and Alison Schuster, a UF marine science sophomore, said they didn’t have class in Turlington Thursday, but observed the evacuation from campus.  

UF handled the incident to the best of their ability, Muscolino said. 

“I think they’re doing a good job, but it’s still pretty difficult on a 50,000 person university campus that’s very open and very public,” Muscolino said. 

The incident comes a day after the UF community found antisemitic chalk messages early Wednesday and the same day right-wing, antisemitic influencers in support of Ye came to Plaza of The Americas.

UF has since confirmed neither of the events are connected to the Turlington incident, Roldan said.

Christian Casale, Ella Thompson and Sydney Johnson contributed to this report.

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