Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Watching from afar as my son’s college deals with a bomb threat May 9, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:54 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At 11:37 AM, I received this email from Tufts University:

Update #2 on bomb threats on Medford/Somerville campus

There is an ongoing criminal investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies, who are continuing to clear buildings on campus. There will be an enhanced police presence on campus for the remainder of the day. At this time, we are unable to provide information relating to that investigation. We expect to be able to provide additional information relating to final exams and campus operations shortly.
The Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS) at 120 Curtis Street is open for students, while faculty and staff may seek confidential support resources through the Tufts University Employment Assistance Program (EAP).

Here’s the post I finished just minutes prior to getting that email:

Bomb threats on Medford/Somerville campus (email received at 7:50 a.m.)

It’s not an email I expected to find in my in-box alerting me to a car fire and a bomb threat on the campus of Tufts University early this morning. My son is set to graduate from this Boston area college in less than two weeks.

Within a half hour of receiving that email, I spoke with him. He assured me he is safe in his apartment across from campus. Students, according to Mary Jeka, senior vice president for Tufts University Relations, have been asked to stay in their dorms and to “take care going to the dining hall.”

Jeka spoke at a recently concluded news conference which I watched live-streamed. Her words that she is “terribly concerned” about the safety of students both reassured me and rattled me.

While the bomb threat, found in a note taped to the door of the health services center concerns me, it is the additional factor of that car fire which multiplies my concern.

During the press conference, a reporter asked whether the incident could be connected to terrorism. Jeka noted she did not know the answer to that question as the investigation continues. Likewise, others raised the possibility of a connection to disputes with the campus janitorial staff. Jeka declined to speculate on that also.

Meanwhile back here in Minnesota, nearly 1,500 miles from my son, I continue to monitor the situation which has garnered coverage from major media outlets. And I’m awaiting another email from Tufts to reassure me.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling