UK & World News

  • 16 December 2013, 20:24

Harvard Evacuated Over 'Explosives On Campus'

Harvard University has issued an all-clear after four buildings were evacuated due to "unconfirmed reports of explosives" on campus.

Students and staff were allowed to return to Sever,Thayer and Emerson Halls nearly four hours after the dormitory and classroom buildings were evacuated.

A fourth building, the Science Center, was reopened nearly six hours after the initial alert was sent out.

The Ivy League institution initially evacuated the four buildings after issuing a warning about "unconfirmed reports" of explosives.

The school, where final exams have begun, posted alerts on its emergency page and Twitter account as police searched the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus with bomb-sniffing dogs.

One student said she was preparing to start an exam when a fire alarm went off and everyone was ordered to leave the hall.

Freshman Hamidah Mahmud said: "We were about to take our science final in the Science Center. We had our pencils out, we were about to start it and right when he was about to say 'go' the fire alarm started and they evacuated everyone.

"Because the Boston bombings happened so recently, I think they are taking extra precautions.

"It was pretty scary."

The Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that students have been moved to Annenberg Hall, one of the college's main eateries.

The paper said that Harvard dean of undergraduate education Jay Harris told those assembled in the hall that the morning's final exams had been cancelled.

Transport police carried out a sweep of Harvard's subway station, but it was not closed or evacuated, according to The Boston Globe.

Harvard's main campus covers 209 acres in a heavily-populated area, around 5km from downtown Boston.

Last month, another Ivy League school, Yale University in Connecticut, was locked down for nearly six hours while authorities investigated a phone call saying an armed man was spotted on campus.

Authorities believe that warning was likely a hoax.