Bomb threats at NYU force evacuations
NYU received bomb threats targeting the Stern School of Business and the Center for Neural Science. Buildings across campus were evacuated, but are now clear to reenter. Classes will proceed as normal on Nov. 12.
November 11, 2021
NYU received bomb threats at the Stern School of Business and Center for Neural Science. The Hebrew Union College, an independent institution not affiliated with NYU, also received a bomb threat.
The New York City Police Department completed its investigation and gave an all-clear for all buildings it searched, according to an NYU Alert posted at 9:28 p.m. All NYU classes, activities and operations will proceed as normal tomorrow, Nov. 11, according to NYU spokesperson John Beckman.
“The police have completed their investigation of the bomb threat that NYU received earlier this evening, having searched four NYU buildings and Hebrew Union College; they have issued an ‘all clear,’” Beckman wrote to WSN at 9:48 p.m. “We are pleased there was no danger to our people, but are deeply troubled by the series of bomb threats against universities (MIT and USC also received bomb threats today). They frighten people, waste municipal resources, and disrupt campuses.”
The first alert of a bomb threat was issued at approximately 7:20 p.m., and members of the university community received emails and text messages instructing them to evacuate to Bobst Library and the Kimmel Center for University Life. Multiple locations on NYU’s campus were evacuated, including the Stern School of Business, the Center for Neural Science, the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life and NYU Law’s Hayden Hall dormitory.
“It’s scary,” said Walla Elshekh, a first-year law student who was evacuated from Hayden Hall. “Because it’s happening at major universities across the country, there’s this tone like people aren’t taking it that seriously — but I’m glad that police and everybody else is reacting to it seriously.”
The NYPD responded to the incident, but a police spokesperson did not provide additional details. At approximately 9:00 p.m., an NYPD officer on the scene confirmed that a bomb search was conducted at Hayden Hall. The officer did not know whether a bomb search occurred at the other evacuated buildings.
Beckman confirmed at 7:58 p.m. that police were on the scene and that evacuations were underway.
“At approximately 6:30 p.m., the university received a telephone bomb threat that indicated three locations in or near NYU’s campus — the Stern School of Business, the Center for Neural Science, and Hebrew Union College,” Beckman initially wrote to WSN. “Our first priority is the safety of our community. NYU moved quickly to evacuate the buildings and alert law enforcement, and to notify Hebrew Union College. Police are on the scene and proceeding with their investigation.”
Threat to the Hebrew Union worries members of the Jewish community
Jewish centers and institutions have been targeted by bomb threats throughout the U.S. in the last several years. Nina Robins, the president of Kehillah, a traditional egalitarian Jewish prayer group at NYU, said she is unsure if Hebrew Union College was directly targeted by the bomb threat, but understands why the Bronfman Center was evacuated as a precaution.
“It’s unclear to me if this is a geographical coincidence or something deeper,” Robins said. “I can’t help but associate it — or at least think about the association — with something more deeply antisemitic about that location specifically being targeted.”
LS sophomore Liora Eiger agreed with Robins, adding that the bomb threat falls close to the anniversaries of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting and Kristallnacht.
“This is a time when we reflect on antisemitic attacks in the past and now there is fear of another one,” she said. “It’s hard to know what its true purpose was because it does seem like it’s really unrelated from the different locations, but it does make me feel unsafe as a Jew.”
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Bomb threats were also reported Thursday evening at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California. Today’s threats are the latest in a slew of incidents targeting U.S. universities, as WSN previously reported. None of the previous bomb threats were deemed credible by law enforcement.
Beckman encouraged any member of the NYU community with information about the bomb threats to contact law enforcement or NYU’s Campus Safety department. He also highlighted NYU’s community support services, including the Wellness Exchange and Employee Assistance Program.
Gillian Blum, Gabriel Hawthorne, Trace Miller and Alex Tey contributed reporting.
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