A University of Utah student was arrested and charged with making terrorist threats Wednesday after police said she threatened to detonate a nuclear reactor if the school’s football team did not win a game last Saturday.
Prosecution documents filed in Salt Lake City on Wednesday allege that the 21-year-old student posted 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 causing a mass destruction.”
The threats were allegedly posted on YikYak, a social media platform that allows users to post anonymously and that rose to prominence on college campuses a decade ago.
According to the billing documents, the student studied engineering and had knowledge of the university’s nuclear reactor.
The University of Utah is among more than two dozen American universities with nuclear engineering programs that use reactors for faculty and student research.
The university said in a statement on Thursday that the reactor was secured and campus authorities had protocols in place to ensure no breaches were made. Authorities said the student, whose name was not identified, admitted to posting the threat and told investigators on Wednesday it was a joke.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for these types of threats,” said University of Utah Police Chief Jason Hinojosa.
Court records did not list an attorney representing the student. A call made to his homestay phone number went unanswered on Thursday.
Utah defeated San Diego State in Saturday’s game, 35-7.