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Bomb Threat at Victoria University of Wellington

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Victoria University of Wellington received a bomb threat this morning around 9:00 a.m. local time and immediately evacuated the Easterfield Building and Murphy Building. IFSA-Butler students were notified right away to avoid campus until further notice. After several hours of searching by police, the bomb threat was determined to be a hoax. Many university classes have been cancelled for the day.

This is separate from the anonymous online threat of a mass shooting at the University of Otago. So far, the University of Otago campus has been quiet yet with increased security presence. It is not known at this time if the two incidents are related.

These events are not common in New Zealand. Initial reports from authorities believe that these threats are likely "copycat" threats stemming from recent events on college campuses in the United States.

IFSA-Butler resident staff will continue to update students both at the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington as the day progresses. Students have been reminded about safety precautions on campus, and they have also been directed to adhere to safety instructions provided by both universities. Should students have any questions or concerns, they can contact our resident staff on the 24/7 emergency phone line.

Please see the following links for more information about this situation:

New Zealand Police Investigating Campus Threat

Tuesday October 6, 2015

New Zealand police are investigating an anonymous online threat of a mass shooting at the University of Otago campus on Wednesday. While the threat is considered unsubstantiated, the University of Otago is taking this threat very seriously. Classes will run as normal on Wednesday, but students can expect extra police and campus security on site. 

IFSA-Butler's Student Services Coordinator has contacted all IFSA-Butler Otago students through their Facebook group so that they are all aware of the threat, and they have been advised to follow all University of Otago safety instructions. During program orientation, IFSA-Butler staff review how to remain safe while a student on the program as well as how to access emergency services, should they be needed. In addition, IFSA-Butler staff are on call, and students are encouraged to contact the SSC if they have any issues or concerns.

For more information about this situation, please see the following news coverage:

Students, parents and advisors may also contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security, with questions or concerns.

Security Threat for University of Edinburgh

Friday, October 2, 2015

Scotland authorities are investigating online comments claiming that the University of Edinburgh would face a shooting similar to the Oregon community college shooting on Thursday.

Police Scotland has launched an investigation into the threats, but IFSA-Butler has been assured that there is no evidence that this posting is credible. Both the university's security team and Police Scotland have determined that the risk of such a shotting is low.

IFSA-Butler's Scotland staff have reached out to all current University of Edinburgh students to reassure them of the safety of Edinburgh. Students who do not feel comfortable travelling to the university for Friday classes have been encouraged to contact the IFSA-Butler Scotland office and to let their instructors know of their plans to avoid classes on Friday.

All Students Accounted for Following Chile Earthquake

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Aftershocks are still a normal, daily occurrance, but our resident directors in both Valparaíso and Santiago have reported that the aftershocks have not caused any damage. All students are continuing with their daily schedules and attending university and program classes.

We will continue to keep a close watch on this situation, and we will provide any necessary updates.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chilean officials issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas of the country, and several IFSA-Butler students and their host families have been evacuated to higher ground. The cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar have well planned and organized evacuation routes, and the evacuation order is not expected to last long.

The tsunami warning also extended to other countries where IFSA-Butler has programs, including New Zealand. IFSA-Butler students in New Zealand are not likely to be affected by the warning but should follow emergency officials' instructions to stay out of coastal waters and away from beaches until the warning is lifted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An 8.3 magnitude earthquake hit along the coast of Chile Wednesday evening local time. The earthquake struck 34 miles west of Illapel, which is located 175 miles from Santiago and 155 miles from Valparaíso.

All IFSA-Butler students in Santiago and Valparaíso have been accounted for and are unharmed. IFSA-Butler resident directors in Lima, Peru, and Mendoza Argentina, where the quake was felt, have also confirmed the safety of our students.

In addition to verifying the safety of our program participants, IFSA-Butler's resident directors in these locations have asked students to contact their families to assure them that they are fine, and they also reminded students of the earthquake and aftershock safety precautions that were explained during IFSA-Butler's orientation at the beginning of the semester.

Please see the following links for more information:

U.S. Geological Survey



Fire in Adelaide, Australia

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A large fire in the downtown area of Adelaide, Australia, has required the evacuation of nearby residents and businesses. The fire is located a few blocks from the Urbanest apartment building where IFSA-Butler University of Adelaide students are housed, though Urbanest itself was not among the areas requiring evacuation. Our Student Services Coordinator in Adelaide has been in contact with our students living at Urbanest and has recommended that they stay indoors and comply with any instructions from authorities.

The area around the fire is expected to remain closed for one or more days.

Click here for more information.

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