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Harvard police: ‘No reason to believe’ bomb threat; evacuation ends

Following a report of explosives in four Harvard University buildings that led to evacuations during finals, university police late Monday morning messaged students that they have “no reason to believe there is a threat” on campus.

“Access to Harvard Yard has been restricted to Yard residents with Harvard IDs. As of the writing of this message the report remains unconfirmed and the HUPD has no reason to believe there is a threat to any other site on campus,” Harvard police said in the message to students.

Much of Harvard Yard had been evacuated and exams at the university were canceled Monday morning after the report of explosives in the four buildings at locations throughout the campus.

Massachusetts State Police officials said a bomb squad and K-9 unit were sent to the scene, and searched through the four buildings: the Science Center, and Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls.

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Student George Doran said a supervisor was reading exam instructions to his constitutional law class in the Science Center when alarms went off about two minutes after 9 a.m. He said students filed out and were directed to Annenberg Hall, the freshman dining room, where they were informed by email and text that there was a bomb threat on campus.

An administrator later told students that morning exams had been canceled, prompting some applause, Doran said, and those who didn’t live in Harvard Yard were released about half an hour later. Few students seemed worried that there was an actual bomb, said Doran, who is a junior.

“By and large, the mood was lighthearted,” he said. “The question going through was, ‘Who doesn’t want to take their exams today?’”

The buildings that were identified as the potential locations of explosives are spread out through Harvard Yard, which houses the bulk of undergraduate classes.

The Science Center is a behemoth of a building built in 1972, and houses many math and science classes. Thayer Hall is a freshman dormitory that flanks Harvard Yard. Sever and Emerson halls are classroom buildings. Sever is known for a doorway in which someone whispering on one side of an arch could be heard clearly by someone standing on the other side of the arch.

For much of its history, Harvard held its winter exams for undergraduates after the Christmas break. The school switched its schedule in 2009 to sync with other schools.

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