By Liam Dacko
Update (4:50 p.m.): Stonehill College has reopened following its closure earlier Friday afternoon, according to an announcement sent via email by Director of Communications and Media Relations Martin McGovern.
“The campus has reopened and the Roche Dining Commons remains open for service,” McGovern wrote. “Residence Halls will be accessible shortly for those who remain on campus. For students who have secured off-campus housing either with family or friends for the night, we kindly ask that you stay at home until tomorrow morning as we work to get the College fully operational. Out of an abundance of caution, you will continue to see an increased police presence throughout campus. Again, we ask that if you see anything suspicious to please contact Campus Police at ext. 5555. Thank you for your continued patience as we work to get our campus back to normal operations.”
Update (4:07 p.m.): Fox 25 political reporter Sharman Sacchetti (@) posted a tweet at 3:57 p.m. Friday stating that all buildings on campus have been searched.
“Stonehill evacuation update: anonymous threat, police have done search search of all buildings on campus, found nothing suspicious,” the tweet reads.
The Summit has not confirmed this information with Campus Police or other Stonehill officials.
More information to follow.
Update (1:33 p.m.): Police have completed a search of the Roche Dining Commons, according to an announcement sent via email by Director of Communications and Media Relations Martin McGovern.
“The search of Roche Dining Commons has been completed and will open at 2:00 p.m. Please note that searches of residence halls have not been completed therefore we ask that you remain in the Roche Dining Commons until we notify you that you may return to your residence. Students may also stay in the Sports Complex if they wish to do so as there will be pizza and water available shortly,” McGovern said.
Update (1:14 p.m.): Moreau Hall, an elementary school close to Stonehill College, was also evacuated Friday as a precaution, according to a report by myFoxBoston.com. Students of Moreau Hall were taken to Oliver Ames school in Easton.
Previously: Stonehill officials cancelled all classes and activities at approximately 11:30 a..m. Friday in response to a “threat,” according to an announcement sent via email.
Various law enforcement agencies, including Massachusetts State Police, Easton police and campus police, are currently working to assess the threat.
Students have been given the option to leave campus or stay in their dorm rooms until further notice.
The College released a statement about the threat on the institution’s official Facebook page at approximately 12:00 p.m.
The post read: “Out of an abundance of caution, Stonehill College has canceled all classes and activities for the day as State, Easton and Stonehill police search the campus in response to a threat. Students and staff have been advised of the threat and ongoing search and have been given the option to leave campus or remain in residence halls.”
Chief Peter Carnes of Campus Police sent out an announcement via email Thursday night alerting the community of a threatening message left in the bathroom of an administration building. However, it has not been confirmed that Friday’s evacuation is connected to the events described in this announcement.
“On Thursday night, the Stonehill College Police Department was alerted to a threatening message left in the bathroom of an administrative building. The Stonehill Police immediately contacted the Easton Police & Fire Departments. Both agencies are actively investigating this incident, and out of an abundance of caution, we will have increased police presence throughout campus. Please contact the Stonehill College Police Department at ext. 5555 if you see anything suspicious or have any information related to this incident,” Carnes said in his announcement.
When the College’s statement regarding Friday’s evacuation was put on Facebook, the post was quickly flooded with reaction comments from various people with connections to the school.
“Stay Safe My Family at Stonehill and All Police, State, Local & Staff!,” Facebook user Sandy Xenos wrote.
Parent Laurie Lescarbeau Gray said, “Thank you for the update. Can’t wait to see my daughter to see with my own eyes that she’s safe. Thanks Stonehill for taking the precautions!!”
“I picked our daughter up at 10. Before the alert. I wish I had taken more kids with me. Be safe,” wrote Diane McLaughlin.
More information to follow as this story develops.