Utah student charged with terrorism threat at NCAA football game

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SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats Wednesday after police said she threatened to blow up a nuclear reactor if the football team school didn’t win a game last Saturday.

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Charging documents filed in Salt Lake City on Wednesday allege the 21-year-old student posted threats before Utah’s game against San Diego State University on Saturday, warning that she was “going to blow the nuclear reactor located at the University of Utah, causing massive destruction.”

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The threats were reportedly posted on YikYak, a social media platform that allows users to post anonymously and which rose to prominence on college campuses a decade ago.

According to the charging documents, the student studied engineering and was familiar with the university’s nuclear reactor.

The University of Utah is one of more than two dozen US universities with nuclear engineering programs that use reactors for faculty and student research.

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The university said in a statement Thursday that the reactor was secure and that campus law enforcement had protocols in place to ensure no violations were committed. Officials said the student, whom he did not name, admitted to posting the threat and told investigators on Wednesday it was a joke.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” University of Utah Police Chief Jason Hinojosa said.

Court records did not mention a lawyer representing the student. A call to his family’s home phone number went unanswered on Thursday.

Utah beat San Diego State in Saturday’s game, 35-7.


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