Campus evacuates in response to bomb threat
On Nov. 5, 2021, an anonymous caller warned Yale police that they had placed 40 bombs around campus, leading to a mass evacuation of campus.
In response to a bomb threat received on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, the Yale Police Department evacuated multiple buildings around campus, including most of Old Campus, Bass Library and the Yale University Art Gallery.
At around 2 p.m., the New Haven police dispatch notified Yale of a phone call made by a person claiming to have placed 40 bombs around campus. Approximately 30 minutes later, Yale notified students of the threat through a Yale Alert. Many students, even in buildings as far from Old Campus as Pauli Murray College, had their swipe access to buildings revoked during the duration of the threat. Numerous law enforcement vehicles parked around campus while police restricted access to certain parts of campus and streets with tape.
The Yale, New Haven and Connecticut State police, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation all responded to the threat. Each law enforcement agency contributed to the evacuation and search for explosives. According to then-acting Yale police chief Ronnell Higgins, the Connecticut State police contributed explosive-detecting dogs to New Haven because of an inadequate number within the city.
“This area you can anticipate we will be shut down for several hours just in order to make sure that we are safe,” Acting NHPD Chief Renee Dominquez said in a press conference that afternoon.
The full list of buildings evacuated included Bass Library, Bingham Hall, Branford College, Grace Hopper College, Jonathan Edwards College, Saybrook College, University Theater, Vanderbilt Hall, Welch Hall and the Yale University Art Gallery.
Five hours later, around 7 p.m., the YPD announced that “there is no validity to the bomb threat made against Yale,” and activity on Yale campus resumed as normal that weekend.
Cornell University, Brown University and Columbia University all received similar midday bomb threats just two days after the Yale threat.
At 2:14 p.m., on Nov. 7, 2021, Cornell tweeted an evacuation post to clear four buildings: the Goldwin Smith Hall, Upson Hall, Kennedy Hall and the Cornell Law School. The police received a call warning that there were bombs placed in multiple buildings on campus. Campus law enforcement arrived to investigate the threat. By evening, all buildings were cleared for re-entry and no bombs were found.
That same afternoon, at around 3 p.m., the Columbia Daily Spectator released a story detailing three buildings — Lerner Hall, Carman Hall and Butler Hall — that had been evacuated due to a bomb threat. The University advised students to stay away from the buildings until further notice. This time, the evacuations were ordered in response to a tweet from an individual that had claimed to have placed 40 explosives around the campus. This individual also claimed to have an accomplice and that they were both armed with AR-15 rifles.
At 4:44 p.m., Columbia allowed students to reenter the buildings after completing their investigation.
Two hours after the threats to Cornell and Columbia, Brown announced an evacuation of multiple buildings on campus due to a bomb threat. All buildings on the Main Green were evacuated. The University made an announcement that campus and Providence police were investigating the threat. At around 5:45 p.m., students received the all clear.
Ivy League universities were not the only academic institutions affected by the threats. On Saturday, Nov. 6, Miami University and Ohio University also received bomb threats according to the Miami Student and 10 WBNS. A day before the Yale bomb threat, on Nov. 4, a Cleveland State University law building received a bomb threat according to Cleveland19 News. All campuses were cleared and no credible threats were found.
On Tuesday morning, Nov. 9, the NHPD held a press conference to discuss the Yale bomb threat. Dominguez said NHPD Captain John Healy was notified over the weekend by YPD’s Lieutenant Brian Donnelly that the individual that targeted Yale with the bomb threat was “possibly related” to the similar bomb threats that multiple other universities experienced.
According to Dominguez, these universities included Princeton University, Stanford University, Miami University, Ohio University, Cornell, Columbia and Brown. An unidentified individual called in a bomb threat at Stanford on Nov. 5, but students were not notified of the threat until The Stanford Daily reported on Nov. 18 that the threat appeared on the week’s police blotter.
The Boston Globe reported on Nov. 15, 2021, that the FBI suspected the bomb threats were linked to a teenage gamer in Virginia.
The YPD is located at 101 Ashmun St.