UT-Brownsville Back To Normal: No Drug-War Gunshots Today (So Far)
Normal, that is, for a school that canceled classes over the weekend in response to Friday's loud and deadly gun battle in Matamoros, Mexico, less than half a mile from the campus.
College police near the school's soccer fields heard gunfire on Friday afternoon coming from across the border with Mexico and made the call to send students and faculty home, fearful that a stray bullet may find an innocent mark on campus, UT-Brownsville spokeswoman Letty Fernandez tells Hair Balls. She says classes were shut down Friday and Saturday and that the weekend homecoming activities were moved off campus.
"Everything is fine today," said Fernandez. "We're open and classes have resumed. Most of the excitement was over the weekend."
According to news reports, more than 55 people were killed during the gunbattle, including a suspected cartel boss and a journalist.
This is hardly the first time that drug-related violence in Mexico has touched the lives of those at the school, which has around 12,000 students and rests less than a mile from the border. Last year, shots fired from Mexico reportedly hit a campus building and campus police have warned students late at night not to leave their dorm rooms.
Despite the increasing violence along the border, Fernandez said that students are not withdrawing from the school. She says campus police work closely with city and federal authorities on a daily basis and that the university has an excellent alert system in place in case of incidents, such as Friday's shoot-out.
"When something happens, we deal with it," Fernandez said. "The safety of the students and campus are our priority, so when something happens we move right into a mode of alert and action."
When asked it the school had any plans to cancel classes for any length of time due to violence across the border, Fernandez said, "No, no, no. We're open."