Harvard Investigating Unconfirmed Report of Explosives on Campus

Dec 16, 2013

Update 12/18: Federal prosecutors are suing a Harvard student for causing the false alarm Monday, that led to an extensive search for explosives. They allege Eldo Kim sent emails to campus police and Harvard officials threatening that bombs would go off in buildings on Harvard Yard. According to prosecutors, Kim was trying to get out of taking an exam scheduled for Monday.

The bomb threat led to evacuations at four buildings, and the university rescheduled some final exams. Students have been given the option not to take the examsm if they prefer to be graded on existing coursework.

Kim now faces federal prosecution, and the penalty for the email hoax could include up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Update: The email warning of explosives on the Harvard campus turned out to be a false alarm. After an extensive search, Harvard officials say authorities gave the all clear to open buildings, which had been evacuated due to the threat.

Monday was the first day of final exams at Harvard, but university officials would not speculate about whether that played a role in the false alarm. The school is allowing students to reschedule exams or be graded based on prior coursework, if they do not feel they can take an exam after the scare.

Four buildings wereevacuated at Harvard University in Cambridge, following a report that explosives were placed at the buildings. Harvard officials say campus police and local police are investigating the report, and they ordered the evacuation "out of an abundance of caution."

Harvard officials restricted access to Harvard Yard to residents of the Yard with a Harvard ID, as they  investigated the report of explosives.

The affected buildings were the Science Center, Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls. Harvard police say they have no reason to think any other part of campus is at risk.

The Boston Globe reports the investigation was triggered by a threatening email. When preliminary searches turned up no sign of the explosives, Harvard officials said the investigation was ongoing.

Rhode Islanders may remember the unconfirmed report of a gunman at the University of Rhode Island, which led to a campus lockdown earlier this year. The report turned out to be false, but it ignited a statewide debate about whether to arm campus police officers.

In response, the State Board of Education voted for a policy change, allowing each state university to make its own decision about providing guns for campus cops. At URI, debate continues on this issue, while Rhode Island College has decided against arming campus p0lice.