September 17, 2012


A. Comments by the President.

President Powers thanked the new and continuing Council members for their service and for making the University a better place. He especially thanked Chair Hilley, Vice Chair Hillary Hart (civil, architectural, and environmental engineering), and Secretary Greninger for their contributions.

The president then commented on the events related to the campus bomb threat that occurred the previous Friday. He noted that the incident was still under investigation, and that University officials were working closely with city, county, state, and federal officials and law enforcement, as well as federal intelligence officials. He was not able to disclose any details of the ongoing investigation but stressed there had been great cooperation between all the involved entities. He especially thanked city officials, particularly City Manager Marc Ott and Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who had immediately made preparations to make Palmer Auditorium and other facilities available to potentially accommodate students without having received a request from the University. He also pointed out that UT Austin has a very professional and highly trained police force, led by Chief Robert Dahlstrom. The president stressed that threats, such as the one Friday, were taken very seriously and very carefully evaluated. Incidents like this provide learning opportunities, concerning, for example, expeditious notifications and alerts to the campus population for threats from violence, weather, fires, or explosives, etc. He noted that different threats require various types of responses. Sometimes people should stay safely inside a building, whereas at other times people should leave buildings and the University.

The president acknowledged that, aside from safety issues, the incident had a disruptive aspect with classes being missed, meetings having to be rescheduled, and the add and drop deadline having to be extended. He added that Friday was the twelfth class day, when University enrollment is normally determined. He advised instructors to be flexible in accommodating schedule changes that have to be made as a result of the disruption. Affected staff members, he said, have been informed to record the missed work time as emergency leave.

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