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Bomb threat at USF Cooper hall wasn’t legitimate, police say

An alert was sent out an 10:30 p.m. warning the USF community of the reported bomb threat. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

University Police (UP) determined a reported bomb threat at Cooper Hall on Tuesday night wasn’t legitimate.

After sweeping Cooper Hall, UP found “nothing of concern,” according to a universitywide email sent out at 12:39 a.m on Wednesday.

The investigation is still ongoing, according to police.

The USF community was first alerted to the bomb threat at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday via an emergency alert. Police warned people to avoid the Cooper building and use caution. Two more alerts followed, with the final one resolving the threat at 11:33 p.m.

Tensions were high on campus throughout the day on Tuesday as law enforcement and pro-Palestine protesters came to a standoff. Law enforcement used tear gas to disperse the protest, which was the second demonstration this week.

Related: Pro-Palestine encampment protest at USF broken up by tear gas 

During the encampment on Tuesday afternoon, around 100 protesters demanded that USF divest from companies with financial ties to Israel. 

As of Tuesday, 13 protesters have been arrested between two protests this week. One of the protesters was found with a gun, according to police.

Police officers at the protest wore riot gear while protesters used makeshift wooden shields and umbrellas as they locked arms in a circle.  

President Rhea Law reiterated that USF will not tolerate “violent, disruptive or aggressive acts by protestors” in a universitywide email on Tuesday. The email was sent out to students at 10:52 p.m., after the bomb threat was already ongoing.

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“We urge everyone to do their part to ensure that USF continues to be a safe and peaceful place where we treat each other with respect and empathy, even when we disagree,” Law wrote.

The email, however, did not mention or refer to the bomb threat, which is the second such threat reported at an on-campus building this year.

Related: University Police investigates bomb threat to USF Hillel – The Oracle

Last semester, UP investigated a bomb threat to USF Hillel, the Morris & Bertha Escoll Center for campus Jewish life. The incident came close to a week after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

At the time, Law sent out a universitywide email which mentioned there would be an increased visible police presence on campus due to the “recent events in the Middle East.”

After an investigation, UP determined that last October’s bomb threat to USF Hillel was not credible and no crimes were committed. 

Another bomb threat close to campus occurred two weeks ago on April 17. A man in his 60s shot himself after making a bomb threat in the parking lot of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), located at 11201 McKinley Drive, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Related: McKinley Drive closed down for death investigation, Tampa police say

The FDOT office is just 0.3 miles away from campus and it is in front of The Province, an off campus student housing apartment complex.

UP has asked students, faculty and staff to remain vigilant. Police advised people to notify police if they see any suspicious activity by calling 911.

This story has been updated.


Camila Gomez, Editor in Chief

Camila Gomez is the editor in chief of The Oracle. She's a political science and mass communications double major. She started at The Oracle in fall 2022 as a correspondent and worked her way up to managing editor. She grew up in Nicaragua and has a strong desire to build community through her reporting. Reach her at