A man claiming he was “declaring war on the United States of America” threw a Harvard examination into chaos Thursday when he interrupted the early-morning final and threatened to set off a bomb attached to his chest. No one was harmed in the incident, which sent students scrambling out a literature and arts final only 30 minutes into the test.
The man, who identified himself to police as Kenneth Leong, was taken into custody by police after a short scuffle, the Harvard Crimson reported yesterday.
As students eyed slide identifications projected on a wall, the man — described as tall and thin and clad in dark clothing — walked into the Literature and Arts B-21 exam “Images of Alexander the Great,” in what is known as Harvard’s Science Center B, witnesses told the Crimson. He threw a brick at the blackboard, tore off a satchel he had slung around his neck and screamed that the had a bomb and “would kill everyone.”
According to witnesses who spoke the paper, the class’ professor, David G. Mitten, demanded, “Who are you? There’s an exam going on.” The man replied that his name was “Romanticist” and that if anyone attempted to flee the room he would detonate his bomb. He said he was “declaring war on the United States of America.”
Mitten told the Crimson he initially thought the man was a student late for the exam which began at 9 a.m., but then “I realized he was dead serious and this was real trouble.” The man asked the students to put their heads down, but one student jumped up and ran out, starting a “stampede” for the door, according to Brandan A. Kramer ’01.
As the students fled the room, others in the Science Center followed them. The building was evacuated without incident, the paper reported. Emergency units arrived on scene within minutes of the threat. By 10 a.m., Cambridge Police officers sealed the streets around the Science Center with police-line tape. Police bomb technicians examined his satchel, which had been left in the science center. They determined that it was not an explosive.
Administrators have reportedly rescheduled the exam for Saturday, Feb. 3.
— YDN Staff