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As Greater Boston came to a standstill Friday morning during the manhunt for marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, Harvard students sat anxiously in spaces across campus, glued to television screens as they waited news of developments.
“People have been really good about banding together and providing information, and I think the administration is doing the best it can,” said Angela S. Berkowitz ’15, who was sitting in a common room in Ridgley Hall swing space with around 10 other students, watching news coverage of the manhunt.
“It’s obviously frightening,” she added.
Florence Y. Chen ’15, who was also in Ridgely watching the news, said that the violence in Cambridge last night and subsequent manhunt prompted significant anxiety for her and her friends.
“Your nerves are slowly being worn,” Chen said. “You're on edge, and you don't know how much more you can take."
The Harvard campus stood silent Friday morning, as classes, athletics, and organizations like the Institute of Politics canceled all planned activities in line with the University's closing.
A 10:30 a.m. email from Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman '67 said that Annenberg Hall and all House dining halls would serve lunch, but that they would use disposable plates and utensils and there would be no grill service. Dingman also wrote that Harvard University Dining Services had set up “limited food service” in Lamont Library, where students remained stranded throughout the night.
“The Harvard University Police Department continues to remain comfortable with modest and quick travel for meals, but advises all students to avoid being outdoors otherwise,” Dingman wrote.
In an effort to pass the time while students were stuck indoors, some College administrators organized small gatherings within the Houses.
In Adams Dining Hall, tables were dotted with board games such as Risk and Apples to Apples. And in the Quad, Cabot House resident dean Emily W. Stokes-Rees sent an email to Cabot residents inviting them to the dining hall for board games, arts and crafts, and other activities.
“We are here to hang out and pass the time, to be together, and also to talk to you about any concerns you might have about everything that has been going on this week,” Stokes-Rees wrote. “We are here to listen and to support, so please chat to us and don’t be alone.”
Students said the mood on campus had been tense for hours.
Winthrop House resident Jeffrey A. Mulligan ’14 said that during the night, he had heard sirens outside, listened to a police scanner, and remained inside his dorm room as he monitored the developments around the metropolitan area.
“It just looked nuts outside,” Mulligan said. “It’s still kind of frightening.”
Another Winthrop resident, Tim J. Barry-Heffernan ’14, said that he and friends were glued to a police scanner until around 5 a.m. Friday morning.
Thayer resident Achim Harzheim ’16, who was watching the news in Thayer basement with other residents of the freshman dorm on Friday morning, said that his heavyweight crew team was scheduled to travel to Princeton this morning, but that the trip had been put off because of the lockdown. Still, Harzheim said that he was “not that concerned,” since events seemed to be unfolding other parts of the greater Boston area.
On at least one of Thayer’s doors, a handwritten sign repeated the warning that several emails had expressed to students throughout the morning.
“University closed today,” the sign said. “Bombing suspect is at large. Police are asking people to stay inside.”
—Madeline R. Conway contributed to the reporting of this article.
—Nikita Kansra contributed to the reporting of this article.
—D. Simone Kovacs contributed to the reporting of this article.
—Staff writer Samuel Y. Weinstock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @syweinstock.
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