Part of the Stanford University campus was evacuated, and a police bomb squad unit came in to investigate a suspicious backpack found at Tresidder Memorial Union at about 8:55 a.m. on Tuesday, Stanford University officials announced.
A passerby reported the backpack, found shoved inside a newspaper receptacle outside Tresidder, as suspicious, prompting police to close off the area and evacuate many surrounding buildings for most of the morning.
Members of the Santa Clara County Sheriff 's Office Bomb Squad initially deployed robots to investigate the backpack, according to a university press release. The release notes that Stanford Police Chief Laura Wilson said officers respond to suspicious packages and abandoned backpacks on campus on a "somewhat routine basis."
However, she said that "this one made the responding officers uncomfortable, which is why we decided to use an abundance of caution in how we responded to the situation."
Stanford Department of Public Safety staff, Palo Alto police officers, members of the Palo Alto Fire Department and the Santa Clara County Hazmat Team were also on hand Tuesday. Stanford police and the Palo Alto Fire Department created a "unified command center" in the Tresidder Union parking lot to direct operations, according to the press release.
The university provided regular updates on the situation on its Emergency Information page, and at 12:31 p.m. posted that there was no threat and the area surrounding Tresidder would slowly reopen. By 1:49 p.m., all buildings in the Tresidder Union area had reopened and normal operations resumed.
"After a thorough investigation of the suspicious backpack, which prompted concern because of the manner in which it was abandoned, no threat was found," the 1:49 p.m. alert read.
After the county bomb squad removed the backpack, it was analyzed and determined to hold only personal effects, according to the press release.
Buildings near Tresidder including Old Union, Dinkelspiel, the Faculty Club and Humanities Center had been evacuated Tuesday morning. The rest of campus remained open throughout the morning and classes were not cancelled.