Harvard Law School Classes Canceled Because of Threat

Bar exam review classes resumed on Tuesday after cancelations on Monday

Summer bar review courses resumed at Harvard Law School on Tuesday after an online message board post that threatened gun violence at the Law School caused cancellations the day before.

School spokesman Michael A. Armini declined to comment on the threat or subsequent investigations, though he provided two e-mails that Law School Dean Elena Kagan sent to school community members to alert them of the threat.

A message, appearing alongside a picture of a gun and ammunition, implied that the author would attack the Law School campus on Monday, according to a screenshot of the post.

"On Monday, I am bringing my piece and his brother to class," read the post. "Elena Kagan and all those arseholes are going to pay. THEY WILL PAY ATTENTION!"

The Web address of the post, which was placed on 4chan.org, is no longer operational. But a screenshot of the original post was placed on a second online message board, AutoAdmit, where it is still accessible.

In her message to faculty and staff on Monday, Kagan said that "based on the results of the investigation to date, the Harvard police have determined that classes may resume on their regular schedule starting tomorrow."

She added that the investigation, which has been aided by federal law enforcement, was ongoing, and that Harvard police would increase their patrols in the North Yard for the time being.

Kagan urged community members not to share the e-mail with others in order to avoid publicity that might lead to "copycat threats." She said that "[t]hreats against the Harvard community and its members are not uncommon," but that she wanted to inform faculty and staff "out of an abundance of caution."

The author of the threat wrote that he or she attended Law School and that the motivation behind the message was "uppity rich bastards...subtly insulting me about being born poor and black."

Kagan shed doubt on the poster's self-identification Sunday, writing that a reference in the post to class being held Monday "indicates a lack of familiarity with HLS."

The Law School does not hold its own classes over the summer. The courses canceled Monday were run on the Law School campus by BAR/BRI, an outside bar exam preparation company.

Kagan wrote that anyone with "information that may be related to this posting (for example, any recent contact with a disturbed or angry person regarding the Law School)" should contact University police.

—Staff writer Clifford M. Marks can be reached at cmarks@fas.harvard.edu.