An unconfirmed bomb threat left Harvard largely unperturbed Monday as Cambridge and Harvard police cleared the area between Jefferson Labs and the Littauer Building in an investigation that lasted roughly 30 minutes.
At around 3:37 p.m., Steven G. Catalano, a Harvard University Police Department spokesperson, sent an email to Harvard affiliates alerting them of the unconfirmed threat, warning people to avoid the area. But by 4:13 p.m., police had cleared the area. No buildings were evacuated and classes in the surrounding area continued despite the investigation.
Police officers and bomb-sniffing dogs inspected the parking lot in search of the alleged bomb, though the overall police presence was minor. Students continued to walk through the scene uninhibited while police were present. At one point, a news helicopter circled overhead.
Jeremy Warnick, Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Cambridge Police Department said that the unfounded threat was solely verbal.
Monday’s incident marks the University’s fourth bomb threat in approximately three years. A threat in Nov. 2015 prompted the evacuation of four campus buildings, including classrooms and a freshman dormitory. A threat in May led to the evacuation of one building on the Harvard Business School campus. In Dec. 2013, a College sophomore emailed an unfounded bomb threat, resulting in evacuations and cancelled exams.
Elisabeth Cheries, an executive assistant who works in Jefferson, said she was unfazed by the bomb threat.
“We’re sort of numb to it as this point, unless something actually blows up in front of us,” Cheries said.
One graduate student, Rhine Samajdar, was studying on the first floor of Jefferson when he received the message from HUPD announcing the bomb threat. Samajdar said the threat did not cause panic in the building and did not disrupt a weekly physics colloquium taking place on the floor above him.
“Nobody really evacuated the building,” Samajdar said. “There was no panic. Like I said, there’s a colloquium tea going on upstairs, and everyone was just busy with cookies and tea.”
—Staff writer Brandon J. Dixon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonJoDixon.
—Staff writer Leah S. Yared can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Leah_Yared.
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