Columbia, Cornell, Brown Hit by Bomb Threats, Evacuate Students

Three Ivy League university campuses in New York and Rhode Island were hit with bomb threats on Sunday afternoon, forcing officials to evacuate students from several buildings.

Cornell, Columbia and Brown universities issued warnings of bomb threats in a series of tweets, as law enforcement was called to the scene to sweep the sites.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. ET, the Columbia University Public Safety Office in New York City issued a campus-wide emergency alert to its 31,000 students after receiving bomb threats at university buildings, according to school officials in a statement.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) were seen sweeping campus buildings and officials warned the public to avoid the area until further notice.

Around 5 p.m., officials said the bomb threats were "deemed not credible by the NYPD and the campus buildings have been cleared for reoccupancy."

On Sunday, November 7, at approximately 2:30 p.m., #ColumbiaUniversity Public Safety issued a campus-wide emergency alert after receiving bomb threats at University buildings. NYPD is investigating. Avoid the area until further notice.

— Columbia University (@Columbia) November 7, 2021

In a statement, the NYPD described the threats as a "swatting incident," a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving officials into sending first responders to an address, and confirmed that the campus area was safe for reentry.

"The investigation into the origins of those messages remains ongoing," police said.

At 3:50 p.m., Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, issued a similar emergency alert of an ongoing police probe on campus involving a bomb threat by phone.

Following an investigation, officials issued an all-clear and found no evidence to suggest the threat was credible, according to local news. The school has since been reopened.

BREAKING: Following a bomb threat on campus, Brown has evacuated all buildings on the Main Green. This follows threats at Yale, Cornell and Columbia. Story to follow. pic.twitter.com/zlLjcITvEW

— Brown Daily Herald (@the_herald) November 7, 2021

At 4:10 p.m., Cornell University, which has about 21,000 students in Ithaca, New York, also confirmed reports of a bomb threat being placed on four buildings on campus and advised the public to avoid the central campus area.

Officials enforced a security perimeter during the investigation and campus law enforcement were still sweeping the sites by early Sunday evening.

"Evacuate areas in or nearby the Law School, Goldwin Smith, Upson Hall and Kennedy Hall," school officials said.

CornellALERT: Ithaca Campus Law enforcement is on site and investigating campus bomb threat. Security perimeter is in place. Continue to avoid central campus.

— Cornell University (@Cornell) November 7, 2021

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said her office has been "monitoring the situation at Cornell and Columbia Universities and are ready to offer any support that may be needed." She also advised the public to follow guidance from the university and local law enforcement.

The incidents come just days after a bomb threat was placed in several buildings on campus at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, on Friday, prompting a police investigation and evacuations.

After the threat was made to a non-emergency police line, law enforcement closed off streets in downtown New Haven as officers searched the area. Later Friday evening, the Yale Police and New Haven law enforcement officials announced that the area had been secured and reopened the campus to normal operations.

Newsweek reached out to Columbia, Brown and Cornell for further information.

Cornell Columbia Brown bomb threat university students
Three Ivy League university campuses in New York and Rhode Island were hit with bomb threats on Sunday afternoon, forcing officials to evacuate students from several buildings. Above, people are seen on the campus of Columbia University during the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020 in New York City. Rob Kim/Getty Images