CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A bomb threat at Harvard University prompted the evacuation of four campus buildings Monday, interrupting final exams at the Ivy League school.
The Science Center and Thayer, Emerson and Sever Halls were all evacuated around 9 a.m. when the university said in a statement it had received “unconfirmed reports” that explosives may have been placed at the four sites. By 3 p.m., all buildings and the Harvard Yard, to which access had also been restricted, were reopened.
The university, which was joined by Cambridge, state and federal police in investigating the reports, said it ordered the evacuation of the buildings “out of an abundance of caution” and there was no reason to believe there was a threat to any other sites on campus.
After the buildings were cleared, Katie Lapp, Harvard’s executive vice president, issued a statement confirming the threat was made in an email sent to Harvard University Police. The email was received at approximately 8:40 a.m., just as the school’s morning final exams were about to begin.
Alexander Ryjik told The Associated Press he was already in class and his professor was handing out exam booklets when the alert went out to evacuate the building they were in, 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.”
Carolyn Killea was in Annenberg Hall along with many students who took shelter during the evacuation. She told WBUR most were calm.
“If people are stressed it’s because their stuff to study for their afternoon exams is in the Yard and they can’t get to it,” Killea said.
Most afternoon exams went on as scheduled, although in an email to The Harvard Crimson, a school official said if students felt unprepared “for any reason,” they would be excused.