Harvard buildings evacuated over explosives report
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Four buildings on Harvard University’s campus near Boston were evacuated Monday morning, interrupting final exams, after police received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside.
Three of the evacuated buildings — one a dorm, and two classroom buildings — border Harvard Yard, and the other is the science center at the Ivy League school in Cambridge.
The FBI was investigating along with Cambridge and university police and other agencies.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the buildings have been evacuated while the report is investigated,” the school said in a statement. “Harvard’s focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”
By 1 p.m., no explosives had been found and students were being allowed back into the dorm and one of the classroom buildings. The science center and the other classroom building remained closed.
The mood on campus was calm as students streamed out of Harvard Yard on a frigid morning with temperatures in the 20s. The gates around the yard were closed and people were allowed to leave but not enter unless they had school IDs.
Juniors Alexander Ryjik of Alexandria, Va., and Diego Abrahao of Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., said their professor was handing out exam booklets for their Politics of American Education class shortly after 9 a.m. when the alert went out that they had to leave Emerson Hall.
“I have a good guess somebody called it in so they wouldn’t have to take an exam,” Ryjik said. “It’s frustrating because now the exam will have to be postponed.”
Sophomore Santiago Pardo said by phone that he and his roommate were keeping close tabs on the situation from their dorm, Adams House, which is not near Harvard Yard.
“We feel safe,” he said. “We’re not scared.”
A classroom building was also briefly evacuated Monday at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, which has 16,000 undergraduates and graduate students who are also taking final exams this week. University police got a call from someone who said they had seen a person with a gun in the building, which was closed while university, Boston and state police searched it. They determined there was no one with a gun and the call is being investigated, said school spokesman DeWayne Lehman.
Last month, another Ivy League school, Yale University in Connecticut, was locked down for nearly six hours while authorities investigated a phone call saying an armed man was heading to shoot it up, a warning they later said was likely a hoax.
And in February, someone called in a hoax about a gunman on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, another elite school about two miles from Harvard. The university said the gunman was a staff member looking for revenge after the suicide of an Internet activist accused of illegally using MIT computers.