Updated: Sunday at 11:28 p.m.
Over 300 members of the Harvard University community received an email on Friday afternoon threatening them with a campus-wide shooting. Harvard University police continue to investigate the threat, but another email, sent Saturday afternoon from the same address that delivered the first message, issued an apology for the previous day’s threats.
The author of the original email signed her name as Boston resident Stephanie Nguyen, though the email name identifies the sender as Eduardo Nguyen. In the email — which was sent to 394 Harvard community members but was addressed to all students at Harvard — the sender said that she would arrive at Harvard University on Saturday at “11 clock” and shoot each student individually.
According to emails sent out by the Harvard administration, the Harvard University Police Department is currently working with the Cambridge Police Department and the FBI to investigate the campus-wide threat. The HUPD could not be reached for comment as of Sunday night.
Students received an email from the HUPD on Friday evening warning them of threatening emails, said Harvard College sophomore Andrew Liu. However, the HUPD emails did not mention the racially charged language in the email, he added.
A notification sent out to students by the HUPD Saturday morning said that while the investigation is not complete, the email appears to be sent from overseas, making the threat less credible. Still, both uniformed and plainclothes security would continue to be present on campus, the email said.
Hours after the Harvard community received the HUPD’s message Saturday morning, another email sent out Saturday to over 100 Harvard community members supported the HUPD’s findings.
The message came from the same “hotmail.de” address that sent out the threats. This time, it was addressed to “Harvard students and employees,” according to the Harvard Crimson. The sender apologized for Friday’s emails and said that there was no threat. The sender self-identified as a 15-year-old living in France whose younger brother had sent the original emails.
According to the Harvard Crimson, the first threatening email was sent at 4:44 p.m. on Friday. Six minutes later, a second email was sent out, also addressed to “All students at Harvard.” While the first email was sent from a “hotmail.de” address — generally regarded as a German email account — the second email came from Google Mail and was sent to some of the people who received the first email.
The second sender was identified by the email as Huy Dinh, according to the Harvard Crimson. The emails were not sent to all students, Liu said.
While the sender did not specify a reason for threatening Harvard’s students, the email included racially charged language, calling the email’s recipients “slit-eyes.”
The majority of students who received the emails were Asian-American females, said Harvard College sophomore Jiayi Peng.
The email shocked and scared many of its recipients. While some considered leaving campus, many decided they would stay indoors over the weekend as a precaution.
“It made me really nervous when I first read it,” Peng said. “I could be walking down the hallway to the dining hall, look out my window and who knows?”
The email left others confused and unsure if the threat was credible, said Harvard student Kimberly Yu.
Jonathan Jeffrey, a Harvard College junior, said that it took a few hours for news of the threat to diffuse through campus. Jeffrey added that students seemed confident in the HUPD’s handling of the situation, but that anxiety on campus ran high.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who have just said that they’re going to stay very vigilant tonight,” Jeffrey said on Friday.
Harvard College sophomore Hammie Park added that she thought the wording and tone of the threatening email was odd and that there had been a lot of Facebook traffic among Harvard students telling one another to stay safe.
Others were dissatisfied with the communication between the HUPD and the students. Aside from the initial notification about the threat and link to the university’s Active Shooter Safety Guidelines, students had not received further information that night, said Adela Kim, a Harvard College junior who received the email.
Harvard has had communication problems before, Kim said. During the bombings at the Boston Marathon in 2013, many students felt that the university did not provide them with sufficient information, she added.
By Sunday night, Harvard’s campus seemed to have returned to relative calm, students said. According to Harvard College sophomore Noah Yonack, “Everyone seems to have forgotten.”
Some students also received emails from Harvard’s Asian American Women’s Association, Peng said. The AAWA told students that the email used slurs against Asian-American students, and the organization provided contact information to group members for students who want to talk about the threat.
Members of on-campus cultural groups had planned to host a pan-Asian discussion on Saturday called “Perspectives: Being Asian American at Harvard.” The organizers of the event requested not to be named for security reasons. On Friday night, the AAWA said that the panel was scheduled to run as planned with heightened security, but a subsequent press release sent by event organizers said that the discussion has been rescheduled for next Saturday, Oct. 11.
“We are saddened that someone would go to such great lengths to threaten the safety of our Harvard community,” organizers said in the press release. “In these times we hope that we can come together and be there for each other.”
On Friday night, Harvard Women in Computer Science postponed a party scheduled for Saturday night to a date later this month, according to the Crimson.
Harvard College is home to approximately 6,700 undergraduates.