Seventh bomb threat in 9 days targets Medford/Somerville, Boston campuses

A Somerville fire truck is pictured up the road from Haskell Hall, which was evacuated on Monday afternoon. Charlene Tsai / The Tufts Daily
Paid Advertisement

Last updated: Dec. 22 at 10:26 a.m.

Tufts received its seventh bomb threat in nine days at 7:01 a.m. In addition to naming seven buildings on the Medford/Somerville campus, one building on the Boston campus and the Boston Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the threat also targeted the Greater Boston Health Center branch of Planned Parenthood. 

The Medford/Somerville and Boston Health Science campuses have not been evacuated, according to a TuftsAlert sent at 8:41 a.m.

On Wednesday, faculty and staff were told in an email from the academic deans that Tufts will continue to send out alerts if the threats persist throughout winter break. Dean of Students Camille Lizarríbar notified the student body in a separate email that the university is “not anticipating any changes to [its] campus operations or procedures” upon students’ return to campus for the spring semester.

Paid Advertisement

Both messages emphasized that a multiagency investigation into the source of the threats is ongoing.

_______________________________________

Updated: Dec. 21 at 9:08 a.m.

At 7:07 a.m., Tufts received its sixth bomb threat in a series of threats that began Dec. 14. Similar to Tuesday’s threat, the email sent to undergraduate and SMFA admissions, Tufts Technology Services and local media outlets and law enforcement agencies also targeted the Boston Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The email listed Dewick-Macphie Dining Center, administrative buildings including Ballou Hall, “1 mystery building” and ATF Boston headquarters as the locations of the bombs. 

In a TuftsAlert message at 7:56 a.m., community members were notified that “the Medford/Somerville campus remains open.” No campus buildings have been evacuated or closed in response to today’s threat.

Federal, state and local authorities are collaborating in an ongoing investigation.

_______________________________________

Updated: Dec. 20 at 12:26 p.m.

Tufts received its fifth bomb threat in one week shortly before 7:30 a.m. The threat warned of bombs in six campus buildings along with Dowling Hall Garage, the home of Tufts University Police Department, and one on Huskins Field. A TuftsAlert issued at 8:02 a.m. said the Medford/Somerville campus remains open at this time.

The email sent this morning to undergraduate and SMFA admissions, Tufts Technology Services, several Boston media outlets and contacts at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobbaco and Firearms threatened ATF’s Boston Field Division in addition to the locations on Tufts’ campus. A joint investigation between federal, state and local agencies is ongoing.

“TUPD, in collaboration with other agencies, assesses each threat within the context of the investigation and makes judgements about the best course of action to take in order to keep our community safe,” Patrick Collins, Tufts’ executive director of media relations, wrote in a message to the Daily. 

The campus buildings listed in the threat include Metcalf Hall, Carmichael Hall, Halligan Hall, Bacon Hall, Ballou Hall and the Mayer Campus Center. Students have been notified of increased police patrols on campus, but no buildings were evacuated in response to the threat.   

_______________________________________

Updated: Dec. 19 at 5:08 p.m.

Five residence halls, a sorority house and a landmark academic building were ordered to evacuate Monday afternoon following the fourth bomb threat in six days, according to an emergency alert message sent to the community at 12:26 p.m. The reported threat, obtained by the Daily in an email, listed Tilton, Lewis, Haskell and Metcalf Halls downhill, plus Houston Hall on the Reservoir Quad, Barnum Hall on the Academic Quad and the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house on Whitfield Road. 

The buildings were searched by police and an all-clear message was issued at 1:44 p.m. advising community members to resume normal activity. No threats were identified, the message said.

The latest bomb threat came as students on campus were taking final exams virtually — and in some cases in their residence halls — after the deans ordered in-person assessments to be shifted online last week.

This morning’s threat was sent to the undergraduate and SMFA admissions inboxes and to an email that directs to the Tufts Technology Services, with the source claiming to be a student. An email obtained by the Daily shows the threat was also sent to multiple Boston-area media outlets and law enforcement agencies.

It is unclear whether the latest threat comes from the same source as previous ones. Local, state and federal authorities are collaborating in an ongoing investigation.

In a message to the community on Monday afternoon, University President Anthony Monaco emphasized his support for community members involved in diversity, equity, inclusion and justice work at Tufts. Though the investigation has not yet concluded the cause of the threats, several of them have criticized Tufts’ DEIJ initiatives.

Monaco’s email did not include new guidance for upcoming final exams, which are scheduled to take place through Dec. 22, nor is it clear how today’s exams were affected. All final exams were moved online following the second bomb threat, which Tufts administrators received on Thursday.

_______________________________________

Updated: Dec. 16 at 10:45 a.m.

TuftsAlert issued a warning of a “security threat” on the Medford/Somerville campus at 8:33 a.m. Community members were told to expect a police presence on campus and asked to “follow instructions” from the officers.

The Tufts University Police Department said it does not expect any evacuations today. The heightened security presence is due to an “ongoing threat.”

_______________________________________

Updated Dec. 15 at 1:35 p.m.

Authorities issued an all-clear message at 1:13 p.m., advising community members to resume normal activity. No threats were identified as police swept through the evacuated buildings with K-9s, but an investigation into the source of the reported threat remains ongoing. 

______________________________________

Updated Dec. 15 at 12:25 p.m. 

Final exams are being moved online after nine buildings were evacuated Thursday morning following the second bomb threat in as many days. In an email sent shortly before noon, Dean James Glaser of the School of Arts and Sciences and Kyongbum Lee, dean of the engineering school, instructed faculty to postpone any exams scheduled for Thursday and move online any exams scheduled Friday or next week.

The deans wrote that the decision was made out of “an abundance of caution” and for the purpose of avoiding further disruption. The move comes after the Tufts Community Union Senate’s executive board sent messages this morning to President Monaco and the deans requesting that finals be rescheduled or made virtual.

“Aside from fear, these threats took away studying hours, they took away almost an entire reading period day [and strained] the mental health of students,” TCU President Jaden Pena told the Daily.

_______________________________________

Updated Dec. 15 at 10:18 a.m.

A reported bomb threat is forcing evacuations in nine buildings on campus. The latest threat is the second in as many days and comes as final exams are set to begin today.

The threat was reported first in an emergency alert message at 9:05 a.m. Thursday. The message said authorities were searching the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the math department, the philosophy department, and East and Anderson Halls in response to a threat. An updated alert at 9:51 a.m. listed Paige Hall, Miner Hall, Robinson Hall, Bendetson Hall, the Science and Engineering Complex, the Joyce Cummings Center, the seventh floor of Dowling Hall, in addition to East and Anderson Halls as the buildings being searched.

The source of the reported threat remains unclear, but it comes a day after another bomb threat prompted an hour-long evacuation of three major campus buildings on Wednesday afternoon, including a first-year residence hall and the main administrative building. The evacuation order was lifted at 4:59 p.m. Wednesday, at which point the buildings were deemed safe for reentry.

Students, faculty and staff were notified of the threat on the Medford/Somerville campus at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday via a TuftsAlert message that ordered the “immediate” evacuations of Miller Hall, Ballou Hall and the Mayer Campus Center. Tisch Library also evacuated, although it was not under an evacuation order from the university. Community members were told to shelter in the Aidekman Arts Center or the Joyce Cummings Center if needed.

Boston.com reported that the evacuations on Wednesday were prompted by an email sent to Tufts’ diversity office accusing the university of “anti white racism,” citing the “Unpacking Whiteness” dialogue series for faculty and staff as an example. The email said a “multiracial group” had placed the bombs. “We don’t want anyone to die,” the email reads. “We are just here to send a message.”

The email said that bombs were placed in Miller, Ballou, the Campus Center and the Rainbow Steps. No bombs were found at any of these locations, according to the TuftsAlert message.

“As a person of color and someone who’s taken classes on whiteness, I felt particularly frustrated by the reasoning behind the threats,” said senior Kyle Sayers, who was studying in the crowded Campus Center when the evacuation was ordered. “I think it’s symptomatic of how our culture feels really threatened by discussions about race and whiteness.”

Sayers recalled a group of people near him moving quickly to pack their belongings and head toward the exits before he read the emergency message himself. Police cars were parked outside the building, and two helicopters circled overhead, Sayers said.

Junior Sacha Waters was studying in a classroom in Tisch Library when she became aware of “a lot of excited yelling,” she said. An employee soon entered the room and ordered students to leave. Waters took three sophomores, who feared returning to their dorms, to shelter in her off-campus apartment.

Tufts and local police, several fire trucks, ambulances and police dogs were all present on campus during the evacuation order. The local first responders departed after the all-clear was announced.

It is still unclear who made the bomb threat. According to Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins, Tufts is conducting a joint investigation with local and state police.

University President Anthony Monaco thanked first responders and confirmed that final exams will continue as planned in an email to the Tufts community on Wednesday evening. Finals have since been moved online.

The Mayer Campus Center was among the buildings evacuated by Tufts and local police on Dec. 14. (Charlene Tsai / The Tufts Daily)

This is a developing story.

Paid Advertisement

COPYRIGHT 2023 THE TUFTS DAILY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
//test comment