The Utah student body shows its support during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the State of San Diego and Utah on Sept. 17 in Salt Lake City. A University of Utah student has been arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats after police threatened to detonate a nuclear reactor if the school soccer team didn’t win the game against San Diego. Rick Bowmer/AP Hide Caption
toggle caption Rick Bowmer/AP
SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah student was arrested Wednesday and charged with making terrorist threats after police said she threatened to detonate a nuclear reactor if the school’s soccer team didn’t win a game last Saturday.
According to documents filed in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, the 21-year-old college student made threats ahead of Utah’s game against San Diego State University on Saturday, warning that she would “detonate the nuclear reactor located at the University of Utah.” and massive destruction.”
The threats were reportedly posted on YikYak, a social media platform that allows users to post anonymously and that gained prominence on college campuses a decade ago.
According to the loading documents, the student studied engineering and had knowledge of the university’s nuclear reactor.
The University of Utah is one of more than two dozen U.S. universities with nuclear engineering programs that use reactors for faculty and student research.
The university said in a statement Thursday that the reactor was secured and police had protocols in place on campus to ensure no breaches are committed. Officials said the student, whom he did not name, admitted to posting the threat and told investigators on Wednesday it was intended as a joke.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” said University of Utah Police Chief Jason Hinojosa.
Court records did not mention a lawyer representing the student. A call to her family’s listed phone number went unanswered Thursday.
Utah defeated San Diego State 35-7 in Saturday’s game.