Tornado closes North Carolina's Shaw University

RALEIGH -- Hours after scrambling off campus to escape a devastating storm, students at Shaw University returned Sunday, only to gather their belongings and head home. They won't return for months.

Classes at Shaw are canceled, and the university is closed for the remainder of spring semester as a result of Saturday's storm, which dismantled buildings on the school's downtown campus and displaced almost 150 students.

"The campus is difficult to navigate, trees are down and glass is everywhere," Shaw President Dr. Irma McClaurin said Sunday. "... Many students are in shock."

Shaw officials said a tornado touched down directly over the quad between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Two students were taken to the hospital with injuries. Others were forced to take refuge for the night in the gymnasium at Southeast Raleigh High School.

Tia Morgan, a senior, was one of many students who returned Sunday morning to find the historic campus shredded by strong winds. Trees were toppled, dorms were damaged, and the student center was roofless.

She was finishing homework in the lobby of the Dimple M. Newsome dormitory on Saturday when the building lost power. Morgan then saw several students running across the quad to enter the building's front doors.

"People were screaming because it took us a while to get the door open because the wind was holding it shut," Morgan said.

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