Nation & World

All-clear given at 4 evacuated Harvard buildings

A police officer ties tape Monday to secure an area at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after campus police received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside, interrupting final exams.
A police officer ties tape Monday to secure an area at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Four buildings on campus were evacuated after campus police received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed inside, interrupting final exams.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Four buildings on Harvard University's campus near Boston were evacuated for hours Monday, interrupting final exams, after police received a report that explosives may have been placed inside. The buildings were reopened after hours of searches.

The FBI was investigating the report along with Cambridge and university police and other agencies, and the school said the buildings were evacuated out of an abundance of caution.

"Harvard's focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff," the university said in a statement. It would not immediately say after reopening all the buildings whether any explosives were found.

Three of the evacuated buildings — one a dorm, and two classroom buildings — border Harvard Yard, and the other was the science center at the Ivy League school in Cambridge.

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."

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.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.