Brandeis University reopens after bomb threat


(JTA) — Brandeis University reopened its campus following an email bomb threat.

The suburban Boston campus closed Wednesday morning after the university received the threat. People on campus were moved to a secure facility and anyone not on campus was told not to enter.

After law enforcement surveyed the campus and declared it safe, the university reopened late in the afternoon.

A statement from the university said the source of the threat is still under investigation. The statement did not specify whether the threat directed at the nonsectarian Jewish school was anti-Semitic in nature.

“The Brandeis campus has been re-opened after a check of buildings by public safety personnel following a bomb threat received earlier today,” the statement said.

New student orientation for the class of 2021, scheduled for Sunday, August 27, will go on as planned and move-in dates for all students remain unchanged.

In a letter issued to students, faculty and staff, provided to JTA by a member of the school’s communications team, Brandeis University president Ron Liebowitz praised the community.

“I want to say how proud I am of how our community handled this situation. Our police officers responded instantly, firmly and professionally, and worked closely with Waltham officials,” he wrote, acknowledging the efforts of residential life, food service staff and others.

“Students remained in good spirits, were mutually supportive, and generally handled the day in a simply exemplary way. In short, we came together as a strong, united, caring, and competent Brandeis community,” Liebowitz wrote.

The letter also provided an overview of the university’s public safety protocols, with more than 20 campus police officers who maintain close contact with local, regional and national law enforcement. There are more than 100 closed circuit cameras across the campus.

The campus was closed at 9:50 am and some 250 to 300 students and about 1,000 non-essential administrators, professors and staff were evacuated. Students were moved to an athletic field across the street from the main campus. By early afternoon, the university posted an update stating that the “students on campus are safe and in a secured indoor location where they are being provided food and drinks.”

The students who were on campus before the university’s opening for the semester were there for various pre-orientation programs and some involved in athletics, a spokesman told JTA in a phone conversation. The university, founded in 1948, with historic ties to the American Jewish community, posted updates on its website throughout the day.

“In today’s world, it’s important that all threats should be taken seriously. Hopefully, this is an isolated hoax,” said Robert Trestan, New England director of the Anti Defamation League. Trestan said he reached out to the university and to the local and state police and federal agencies, as his office does in all similar cases. The Jewish community is sensitive to these threats in light of the many bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the country earlier this year, Trestan noted.

Classes for the university, with more than 3,600 undergraduates listed in 2015, are set to begin on Aug. 30.

Recommended from JTA