A loaded handgun left in a University of St. Thomas bathroom was discovered by a student, and the school said it belongs to an employee who is not authorized to bring the weapon onto the St. Paul campus, authorities said Wednesday.

In response, school administration quickly sent an alert to students, staff and others about the recovery Monday afternoon of the holstered handgun in a bathroom that was turned over to police.

An "all-clear" notice soon followed that explained that the weapon belonged to an employee with a state-issued permit to carry a firearm, but "the owner was not aware of the university's no weapons policy" for anyone on campus except for campus police, law enforcement from other agencies or other government personnel who are required to be armed.

Neither notice revealed that the gun was loaded, as police confirmed.

The employee is subject to discipline by the school, said St. Thomas spokeswoman Vineeta Sawkar, who declined to identify the employee or explain what job that person holds. She also declined to say what the discipline could possibly include.

Police said the circumstances of the loaded gun being left unattended remains under investigation and that a case has yet to be forwarded to prosecutors for consideration of charges.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482