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article imageHarvard evacuated over hoax 'explosives' on campus email threat

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 16, 2013 in World
Cambridge - As students at Harvard, an Ivy League University, sat Examinations Monday morning police received an email warning of explosives on site. The bomb threat was taken seriously and an evacuation quickly took place.
Hundreds of students were sitting final examinations at Harvard Monday but police were not taking any chances when they received a bomb threat. After the Boston marathon bombings earlier in 2013, why would they risk it?
The bomb threat email received at approximately 8:40 a.m. by the Harvard University Police Department and other community members turned out to be a costly hoax,
The fire alarm was sounded on campus, following the unconfirmed report of explosives on site and the students calmly evacuated the buildings involved. Evacuations began around 9am local time.
Police, bomb squad officers and bomb-sniffing dogs descended on the site in Cambridge, Massachusetts and searches of the campus and buildings took place. Police at the scene included officers from the Harvard campus police, Cambridge Police and Massachusetts State Police.
Sky News reports the university issued a warning about "unconfirmed reports" of explosives at four of its buildings.
A statement on the university's website said: "The Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) this morning received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed in four buildings on campus - the Science Center, Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls.
"HUPD and Cambridge Police are on the scene. 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 unconfirmed news has been posted on the university's website, and Twitter. The university's website has a redirect to an emergency page online.
According to Reuters: Daniel Banks, an 18-year-old freshman from Marlboro, New Jersey, was about to take a final exam in a government class when he was evacuated from Emerson Hall.
"It was my first final ever at Harvard and within a minute it was canceled," Banks said. "I never expected anything like this to ever happen at Harvard especially, but I'm glad that nothing real has happened yet."
At time of writing the breaking news report the emergency page stated:
10:40am EST
As you learned from the MessageMe alerts this morning, the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed in four buildings on campus: the Science Center, and Thayer, Sever and Emerson halls. Out of an abundance of caution, the buildings have been evacuated while the report is investigated by the HUPD and the Cambridge Police Department. The investigation is ongoing.
Access to Harvard Yard has been restricted to residents of the Yard with Harvard ID. As of the writing of this message the report remains unconfirmed and the HUPD has no reason to believe there is a threat to any other site on campus.
Harvard's focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We will continue to update the community via MessageME and through messages posted here and on the University's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
11:48am EST
Report of bombs on campus remains unconfirmed. Federal and state officials have joined the probe. Updates to be posted here.
An update was posted later at the emergency website which read:
12:54pm EST
Thayer and Emerson Hall are cleared and students may return. Sever and Science Center are still closed. Updates to be posted here.
Was it just a hoax?
A 2:44pm EST update reports all 4 sites are now open and the latest news from Harvard is the bomb threat may have been a hoax. The investigation is not officially complete but CNN reports two law enforcement officers said late Monday morning 'the threat appears to be a hoax'.
Harvard confirms it was a hoax
The final update came Monday, 3:26pm EST with a message from Katie Lapp, Executive Vice President, Harvard - no suspicious devices were found.
Investigations are underway to determine who was responsible for the hoax.
More about Harvard, Bombs, boston bombing, Campus, Explosives
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