Notification of penalty for false alarm or report

Sept. 12, 2017

Dear UNT community,

The following notification is mandated by Texas Education Code Sec. 51.219


A person commits an offense if he knowingly initiates, communicates or circulates a report of a present, past or future bombing, fire, offense or other emergency that he knows is false or baseless and that would ordinarily:

(1) cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;

(2) place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or

(3) prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, or aircraft, automobile or other mode of conveyance.

An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the false report is of an emergency involving a public or private institution of higher education or involving a public primary or secondary school, public communications, public transportation, public water, gas or power supply or other public service, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.

A false threat can be communicated through any means (email, phone, in writing, verbally, social media, etc.). An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony shall be punished by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days and, in addition to confinement, may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

UNT students should be aware that the State of Texas takes these threats seriously and the legal consequences, which are severe, go beyond anything that the University's Code of Student Conduct will address.

Maureen M. McGuinness, Ed.D.
Dean of Students
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
University of North Texas