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Harvard University evacuated over reports of explosives at 4 sites

Published time: December 16, 2013 14:31
Edited time: December 16, 2013 20:48
A student stands in the entranceway of a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

A student stands in the entranceway of a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

Harvard University ordered the evacuation of four buildings following reports that explosives were present on campus. Police later declared the reports false, but only after the scene was investigated by five different agencies.

On Monday morning the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed in four buildings on campus.

Harvard University Police and officers from the Cambridge Police Department started sweeping the buildings for explosives. Bomb squad officers from the State, Transit and Boston Police departments were also dispatched to the campus with bomb sniffing dogs. Cambridge firefighters were also at the scene.

No further evacuations in the surrounding area were reported, and all buildings were reopened after hours of searches by authorities.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the buildings have been evacuated while the report is investigated. Harvard's focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We will update the media when we have more information," the University posted on its website.

Three of the buildings evacuated were in Cambridge border Harvard Yard – the oldest part of the Harvard University campus and its historic center.

Later on Monday, The Boston Globe cited police sources as saying the reports proved to be a false alarm. EOD specialists searched the buildings for explosives but found none, he added. The police now suspect the bomb reports could have been made by someone wishing to disrupt the Monday exams at Harvard.

The bomb scare comes as final exams commenced at the Ivy League school. According to the university's exam schedule, 9 finals were set to begin at 9:00 a.m. in those buildings being evacuated. Students reportedly erupted in applause following the announcement the buildings were being evacuated, The Harvard Crimson, the daily student newspaper of Harvard University, tweeted. Dean of Freshmen Thomas Dingman said morning exams in the affected areas have been cancelled.

Ben Forman, an employee at the Harvard Book Store on Massachusetts Avenue, told the Boston Globe the atmosphere around Harvard’s campus was not too panicked this morning as police swept through the yard.

“It looks pretty relaxed out there actually,” he said.
“There is a gate closed into the yard, but its not panicked.”

Comments (25)


Joshua Woodbury 17.12.2013 13:53

Thank god for the caption in the photo, telling me it was a photo of a student standing in the entranceway of a building. Without that, I never would have been able to deduce what was going on!


Ian MacDonald 16.12.2013 21:53

So. No bomb & nothing happened. Folk went about their business. Exams were cancelled though.


Bradley Mead 16.12.2013 17:03

One way to keep cops out of the doughnut shop.

View all comments (25)
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