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


20 Responses to “Watching from afar as my son’s college deals with a bomb threat”

  1. Wãshē Kōdä Says:

    Whoa! 😦

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    I’m sending prayer and positive thoughts to you and your son. I am thankful that Tuft’s University is serious and taking immediate action. Keep us posted, Audrey.

    • Thank you for your care and concern. Since publishing this, I received another email from Tufts saying all the buildings specified in the bomb threat have been cleared and the campus is returning to limited operations. There will be a police presence on campus for the remainder of the day. And the investigation continues.

  3. Carol King Says:

    My thoughts and prayers for your family and your son and all others involved. Let’s all remember too our law enforcement personnel, always the front line of defense in these terrible situations.

  4. SCARY!!! Sending prayers. Glad to hear your son is safe.I am sure your son is looking to forward to graduation. Hopefully things get back to normal sooner than later.

  5. Dee Bjork Says:

    Thanks for the update Audrey. I wish things were different in the world, so I, like you make the small differences we can in our own back yards. Be blessed.

  6. bev walker Says:

    Wow! It is a scary world we live in! Can’t believe Caleb is graduating. What are his next goals/plans?

  7. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Wow, that is just not how you want to know more about your son’s college experience. I’ve had those kinds of emails, too, and it is unnerving. But we’ve taught our kids to pay attention and be safe; now we have to trust they do so. We have no control over the rest. Glad you already received further info from Tufts.

    • When Caleb was at NDSU his freshman year, the university received a bomb threat. They’re not uncommon on college campuses. What makes this one different is the car fire that preceded discovery of the note.

      • Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

        Yes, true. How less likely we are to think of anything as coincidence in our world.

  8. Jackie Says:

    I’m a little late reading this post, seems like things are ok, but man….. still scary!!! Ugh, this world???

  9. I have confidence that they will find the culprit, cameras are everywhere and if it is labor-related the person responsible will face serious charges including terrorist activity and will pay a dear price for this..

    • I hope they find the person responsible. The thought crossed my mind when we were at Tufts graduation last Sunday that someone could do something crazy. There was a security presence on campus on graduation day. Whether that’s typical or not, I don’t know.

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