New Brunswick

All UNB campuses reopen after receiving threat Friday

All three University of New Brunswick campuses were evacuated Friday due to a threat, Fredericton police announced Saturday morning. 

Police said they began searching the Fredericton campus around 12:30 p.m

An armed police officer surveys the scene as vehicles evacuate the University of New Brunswick campus in Fredericton on Friday. (Brendan Ahern photo)

All three University of New Brunswick campuses were evacuated Friday due to a threat, Fredericton police announced Saturday morning. 

Students and staff were blocked from entering the Fredericton campus Friday afternoon, though at the time it was uncertain what had led to a police investigation on campus. Students in residence were also told to shelter in place.

"We want to thank the university community for your patience and cooperation during this investigation," the university said in a statement posted to their Twitter. 

UNB alerted police to the threat around 12:20 p.m, Fredericton police said. The threat didn't specify which campus was being targeted, and the university made the decision to close all their campuses according to its safety policies and procedures, they said.

UNB's Fredericton campus stayed closed until midnight while police searched. All three campuses have reopened. 

On Friday, most police officers had left the campus by 5 p.m., leaving behind barricades at the entrances.

In updates via Twitter and on its own website, UNB reiterated there was "no immediate threat" and that the situation was "being continuously reassessed."

St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick Community College in the same area in Fredericton were also evacuated.

Anyone with information about the threat is being asked to contact Fredericton police. 

Police say no charges have been laid in connection to the incident. The department was not immediately available for comment. 

Armed officers spotted around campus

St. Thomas University student Brendan Ahern was in the library working on a group project Friday afternoon when he got a message from another group member who hadn't arrived.

There were police officers on campus and he wasn't being allowed in, the student told Ahern.

"That was odd ... so I stepped out to see what was going on," Ahern said.

To his surprise, he saw police officers guarding entrances, some of them holding rifles, students leaving the campus on foot and others driving away in cars.

"And then we got an email from the school," explaining that the university had been advised to close the campus and ask everyone to leave until further notice.

"It was orderly, there was no real panic ... there was a real lack of urgency in the library, I've gotta say," Ahern said.

Few details released 

Around noon Friday, Fredericton police asked people to avoid the UNB area as officers were "investigating a file."

About 20 minutes later, police said UNB was evacuating the buildings "based on their policies and procedures."

In an email to St. Thomas students shortly after, president Dawn Russell said the university has been advised to close the campus.

Russell asked students living in residence to shelter in place and not leave their rooms until further notice.

In a notice to students, UNB said the evacuation included the campuses in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John.

About 10,000 students are enrolled at UNB and 2,000 at STU. Wednesday was the first day of classes at UNB and STU and in-person classes have resumed at both universities.

With files from Miriam Lafontaine, Hadeel Ibrahim and Marie Sutherland