Harvard University buildings evacuated and exams cancelled after reports of explosives on campus

Final exams were due to take place across the Ivy League school in Boston both this morning and afternoon

Four buildings at Harvard University have been evacuated following “unconfirmed reports” of explosives placed across campus.

Final exams are underway at the university in Boston, and those taking place in affected areas had to be cancelled this morning as police investigated the threat.

The university issued an emergency alert on its website and via an automated messaging service, saying that the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) had received word of bombs placed across four buildings.

According to reports from the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, police have briefed the White House on the threat, as federal agencies said they will remain in touch with local law enforcement.

Students in the university’s Science Center, Thayer, Sever and Emerson buildings were told to “please evacuate now” at approximately 9am local time (2pm GMT).

“Out of an abundance of caution, the buildings have been evacuated while the report is investigated,” the university said. “Harvard's focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”

After the alarm was first raised it was quickly followed by tweets from the university’s official Twitter profile.

One message stressed that while the HUPD and Cambridge Police Department were on campus to investigate, there were no reports of actual explosions. The university said: “Reports of bombs placed on campus are unconfirmed.”

The Crimson said a number of final exams were due to begin at the Ivy League school when the evacuation was called.

Those moved from buildings gathered in the Annenberg Hall where, the newspaper tweeted, they waited to hear more about when exams would be rescheduled for and if the afternoon's session would be affected.

Students Alexander Ryjik and Diego Abrahao said their professor was handing out exam booklets for their Politics of American Education class shortly after 9am when the alert went out that they had to leave Emerson Hall.

“I have a good guess somebody called it in so they wouldn't have to take an exam,” Ryjik said. “It's frustrating because now the exam will have to be postponed.”

Students gather at Harvard University's Annenberg Hall after being evacuated from campus buildings following an unconfirmed bomb threat (Reuters/The Harvard Crimson) Students gather at Harvard University's Annenberg Hall after being evacuated from campus buildings following an unconfirmed bomb threat (Reuters/The Harvard Crimson)

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