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The Dartmouth
February 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Bomb explodes at Yale Law School

A bomb exploded in an empty classroom at Yale University's law school yesterday afternoon. No one was injured, and U.S. government officials said the incident did not appear to be the work of terrorists.

Preliminary reports indicate that the bomb was in a package when it went off, according to law enforcement sources. Police have not announced any suspects.

College examinations at Yale ended about a week ago, and most undergraduates had returned to their homes at the time of the blast. The on-campus population consisted largely of faculty, graduate students and graduating seniors.

Most anxiety resulting from the bombing had reportedly eased by last night. Thomas Dewland '02, a Yale medical student reached at the university, told The Dartmouth that students "seem to be interested, but not concerned."

At Dartmouth, Safety and Security was placed on an elevated alert status after College officials learned of the explosion yesterday.

"We've put on additional people, run our protocol through the Dean-on-call and, in the absence of any additional information, we've assumed an increased posture of security," Proctor Robert McEwen said yesterday.

While he acknowledged that "things like this could happen literally anywhere," Dean of the College James Larimore noted that a few factors might make such violence less likely to occur at Dartmouth.

"We have the benefit of being in a close-knit community," Larimore said. "Students and others tend to notice things that aren't as they ought to be."

Dewland also expressed doubt that a similar explosion might occur in Hanover, noting that he had never thought about safety as an undergraduate.

"The great out-of-doors seems to take the edge off most Dartmouth students," Dewland wrote via BlitzMail.

Larimore said current safety procedures on campus would probably not be revised after the Yale explosion, citing an "extensive review" undertaken two years ago in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Multiple groups regularly monitor threats to the safety of the Dartmouth community, Safety and Security officials said.

"We're constantly checking things out and reviewing," McEwen said. "The College has several committees on security that meet weekly and biweekly."

McEwen expressed confidence in the ability of Safety and Security to deal with emergencies involving explosive devices.

"We have an adequate security force and our officers go through a good deal of training," McEwen said.

As at Dartmouth, a key card system restricts access to most campus buildings at Yale. However, university administrators said the law school was unlocked all day yesterday, and anyone might have walked in. The explosion occurred in classroom 120 on the first floor of the Sterling Law Buildings.

An adjoining room was also damaged by the blast, but building's structural integrity was not compromised, according to Yale officials. Early reports that placed the site of the bombing as a mailroom have since been discredited.

The Yale Law School will be closed today and tomorrow, according to the university's public affairs officials. The majority of the university will remain open, and commencement dates are not expected to change.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.