The Norman Transcript

Local news

April 18, 2007

OU experiences a lockdown

NORMAN — The Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma briefly experienced a lockdown this morning after officials received a report of an unidentified Caucasian male of student age carrying a “suspicious object.”

According to a campus-wide email issued at 9:32 a.m., university deans, directors and chairs were ordered to “Immediately take action to keep all individuals within their current buildings into further notice.” A second email was sent by President David L. Boren’s office at 9:50 a.m. to students, faculty and staff. The note stated, “students, faculty and staff should stay in their buildings or dorms until further notice.”

At the time of the incident Boren was instructing a political science course, in Dale Hall.

Shortly after 10 a.m. the lockdown was lifted and Boren issued a statement attributing the action to a yoga mat mistaken for a weapon. Later, officials said it was an umbrella.

“The OU Police Department has made a saturated search of the area where a person carrying a suspicious object was spotted,” Boren said. “No person with a weapon has been found. It is now believed that the person was possibly carrying a yoga mat which was mistaken for a weapon. We should therefore proceed with the normal schedule.”

Boren also asked the campus community to report any suspicious behavior to the authorities.

“If such a person is seen carrying a suspicious object it should be reported to the OU Police Department at 1-911 or 325-1717 or blue phones should be used,” Boren said. “If anyone feels that he may have been the person who was seen and was thought to be carrying a weapon that person should also call the OU Police Department to reassure the community.”

More than an hour after Boren made his statement, his office released an update and a correction.

“The person apparently seen by the student making the earlier report has self-identified himself,” Boren said. “He was carrying an umbrella and not a weapon. We appreciate his action in identifying himself. We now consider the matter closed. I appreciate the cooperation from the university community in this matter. We always want to err on the side of caution in a situation like this.”

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