According to University of Utah police, the 21-year-old engineering student made that threat on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app, before the Utes played the Aztecs on Sept. 17.
“If we don’t win today, I’m detonating the nuclear reactor on campus,” the post read.
When questioned on Wednesday, the woman acknowledged posting the statement but told police it was intended as a joke. If it was a joke, she is learning the hard way that you can’t joke like this in these times.
On Thursday, University of Utah Police Chief Jason Hinojosa said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats.”
The university said in a statement Thursday that its 50-year-old nuclear engineering program “performs ongoing, cutting-edge research.” According to the statement, the reactor “uses inherently safe, self-limiting, low-enriched uranium TRIGA fuel.”
“It is immersed in a large water tank and is nearly impossible to damage,” the statement continued, and all personnel who use it must undergo background checks.
Program director Glenn E. Sjoden said the reactor is “inherently safe,” adding that “idle threats made to the facility are treated seriously, and we encourage folks to really bear in mind that nuclear facilities are always treated with the utmost respect and safety,” noting that “law enforcement will take any action necessary to mitigate any threat made.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of threats,” University of Utah Police Chief Jason Hinojosa said.
Court records did not list an attorney representing the student. A call to her family’s listed home phone number went unanswered on Thursday.
The Utah team beat San Diego State 35-7 last Saturday.
The woman arrested was booked into Salt Lake County jail on suspicion of making a terroristic threat. Her bail was set at $5,000.
A 19-year-old Utah student had been arrested for the same crime in August for making a bomb threat on Yik Yak directed at a school building. He claimed the alleged threat was a joke and that he had no intention of carrying it out, according to KSL’s website.