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Alumnus Jumps to His Death from William James Hall

A 2006 College graduate fell to his death from the top of William James Hall, pictured above, on the morning of Feb. 6.
A 2006 College graduate fell to his death from the top of William James Hall, pictured above, on the morning of Feb. 6.
By Madeline R. Conway and Steven S. Lee, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: Feb. 7, 2014, at 3:50 p.m.

A 2006 graduate of the College jumped over the side of William James Hall to his death at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, according to the Harvard University Police Department’s public police log.

Interim Dean of the College Donald H. Pfister delivered news of the incident in an email to undergraduates Thursday evening.

According to the police report, officers were dispatched after receiving a report of someone on the building’s balcony. Police then saw the man jump off the side of the building, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the report, the case is now closed.

The incident is “not considered to be foul play or a suspicious death,” according to MaryBeth Long, a spokesperson for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. She clarified that the case is no longer a criminal matter in a phone interview Thursday evening.

In a statement, the Harvard University Police Department described the incident as “the unattended death of a 29-year-old man.”

HUPD, the Cambridge Police Department, and Massachusetts State Police Crime Prevention and Control unit were all investigating the incident as of Thursday night, according to Joseph L. Wilson, a deputy superintendent for CPD.

“This is a terrible tragedy for the individual’s family and friends and for the extended College community,” Pfister wrote in his email. “My thoughts are with all of those who have been touched by this tragedy.”

Though College students were notified of the incident, other members of the Harvard community reported that they had received no official word of the death from the University.

Interim chair of the Sociology Department Mary C. Waters wrote in an email to The Crimson Thursday night that she had not been notified of the incident by the University. Waters, whose office and department is housed within William James Hall, wrote later in the email that students and staff in her department knew that someone had fallen and that “we found it hard to go about our daily routines.”

No crime scene was apparent around the perimeter of William James Hall at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, and students and staff were normally going about their activities within the building and the Tozzer Library, which is currently housed there.

—Alexander H. Patel contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.

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