A Harvard bomb threat caused four buildings on the university’s campus to be evacuated on Monday. A science center, along with Sever, Emerson, and Thayer Halls, had to be evacuated when a bomb threat was emailed in. The search of all four buildings by authorities was expected to take several hours.
CBS Boston reports that the Harvard bomb threat was one of several called in Monday to Fitchburg State University at Cape Cod Community College. Both academic institutions were evacuated, and classes were canceled at Cape Cod.
— Kwanboat (@KwaniALunis) November 16, 2015
According to the report, Cambridge police and a bomb squad responded after threats were received by Harvard. The school issued a statement following the bomb threat.
“The buildings have been evacuated and law enforcement officials are on scene. Entry to the Yard is restricted.”
The superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools wrote a letter to parents stating that police were investigating an anonymous threat from someone alleging to bomb “Cambridge mass city schools.” Executive Vice President of Harvard Katie Lapp posted a message around 2 p.m. saying that there was “nothing to substantiate the emailed threat has been found. Harvard is working with local and federal law enforcement officials to investigate the source of the threat, which has not yet been determined.”
It didn’t go unnoticed that in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and other regions that the Harvard bomb threat occurred at a suspicious time.
So far, police haven’t found any evidence that an actual bombing would be carried out, but Lapp said the school is continuing to be “vigilant as we carry on Harvard’s mission of expanding and disseminating knowledge.”
Harvard said it will increase security members following the unsettling bomb threats. The Harvard Crimson reports that the very same four buildings were also the source of another bomb threat back in 2013. That Harvard bomb threat turned out to be a “six-hour scare,” which police found no further proof of. Later on, a student — Eldo Kim — admitted to sending in the threat. He was formerly a member of the college’s Class of 2016. The incident occurred in December in the middle of fall semesters.
According to the university’s newspaper, students grouped together at Annenberg Hall as officers searched the Yard. Harvard Dean Rakesh Khurana was in front of the freshman dining hall to offer support to students. The dean reassured students that the college is working to make sure its “students are taken care of.”
— Andy Duehren (@aduehren) November 16, 2015
According to the university report, re-entry into the Yard was granted around 2:45 p.m. through two gates — Johnson and Widener.
A number of classes were canceled around the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences, but staff who were unable to work in buildings being swarmed were advised to either go home or continue work at another part of the campus.
Cambridge Fire Department Deputy Chief Kenneth R. Jenness said that officers completed their search of two buildings by 2:30 p.m. and that Emerson and Sever Halls were “safe.” Harvard Police spokesperson Steven G. Catalano revealed that officers are still searching the Science Center and Thayer Hall.
Other threats have kept Americans on edge in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. Headlines on Monday are full of threats from ISIS announcing plans to attack Washington D.C. and other countries. The extremist group intends to target any nation involved in air strikes against Syria. While the bomb threats against Harvard are most likely not from such a terrorist organization, the terror-like intentions are alarmingly violent all the same.
At this time, it’s unclear if the other bomb threats in Cambridge are related to the one at Harvard.