Manhunt Shuts BC Down

On Friday morning, students at Boston College were asked to remain inside their dorms as the search for a suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings continued. Governor Deval Patrick had requested that all residents of Boston, Watertown, Newton, Cambridge, Belmont, and Waltham shelter in place while the Boston Police Department and the FBI conducted its search for the suspect in the bombings. The stay-in-place order was lifted shortly after 6:30 p.m. that day.

The hours of all campus dining halls were limited on Friday, and the Flynn Recreational Complex was closed for the day. Shuttle service was suspended. All of Friday’s athletic events, including camps scheduled by women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball, were canceled. The vigil organized by Danielle Cole, CSON ’15, and Michael Padulsky, LSOE ’15, intended to commemorate the victims of Monday’s bombings and scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, was canceled as well.

The BCPD sent out an emergency text to the BC community at 6:28 a.m. Friday morning. “Due to public safety concerns, BC is closed and classes are cancelled until further notice,” the text read. “Remain indoors.”

The search Friday morning was centered around the area of Watertown, which is approximately four miles from the BC campus. The suspect pursued by police was identified as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. According to The Boston Globe, Tsarnaev lived in both Kyrgyzstan and Chechnya, and is a student at UMass Dartmouth. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, also a suspect in the bombings, died early Friday morning after he was run over by his brother in an attempt to escape after a confrontation with police.

The Office of News and Public Affairs released an online update slightly after 8 a.m. “BC Police are monitoring the BC campus which, they say, is safe,” the release read. “However, they reiterate the State request that all residents stay indoors until further notice. Therefore, all services are currently suspended. Students should remain inside their dorm rooms and apartments until alerted otherwise.”

Multiple BC departments and offices coordinated the response to the lockdown. Administrators from Student Affairs, Emergency Management, News and Public Affairs, BCPD, the Office of Residential Life, the athletics department, BC Dining Services, Facilities Management, Health Services, and the President’s Office all worked to ensure student safety, according to University Spokesman Jack Dunn. “The team has established protocols in place and meets regularly to review emergency scenarios to ensure readiness in the event of an emergency,” Dunn said in an email.

Shortly before 1 p.m., Executive Vice President Patrick J. Keating sent an email to the student body regarding dining services. Beginning at 1 p.m., he said, staff members from the Office of Residential Life would bring on-campus students to dining halls on a floor-by-floor basis so that they could carry food back to their dormitories. Keating asked students to only take what they needed for lunch so as to avoid delays, and reiterated that there was no immediate threat to the campus. He sent out a follow-up email shortly after 5 p.m., informing students that the same procedure would be followed for the distribution of dinner.

Athletic director Brad Bates decided to cancel Saturday’s Jay McGillis Spring Football game on Friday afternoon around 2:30. “Our first priority is ensuring the safety of our student-athletes, coaches and spectators,” Bates said in an email from the athletics department. “Our local law enforcement community has done a phenomenal job this past week, and we do not want our events to serve as a distraction. Furthermore, now is a time for reflection to honor those who have been tragically killed and injured this past week and to allow our community to heal.”

Parents were also kept appraised of the situation on campus through emails from Keating, and were encouraged to keep in contact with their children. Off-campus students received information via an email from Dean of Students Paul Chebator, and meals were delivered to students in Greycliff Hall, as they did not have convenient access to any dining halls.

After the stay in place order for Boston was lifted, BCPD sent out an alert Friday evening around 6:30 p.m. announcing that the lockdown was over. “BC community members are asked to remain vigilant,” the alert read. The end of the lockdown did not mean that the BC community went back to normal operations immediately, however. “BC Police officers and staff from Facilities Management, Dining Services, and Health Services stayed on after their overnight shifts had ended in light of the fact that the shelter in place order and the closing of the MBTA meant that their replacement workers were not likely to make it in to work,” Dunn said. “Many of those who did make it in also worked overnight on Friday until the campus returned to a normal schedule on Saturday.”

Tsarnaev was taken into custody by police shortly before 8:45 p.m. on Friday, after being found in a boat in Watertown. According to The Boston Globe, he was conscious and had been taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for treatment. As soon as the news broke, students rushed out of their dorms, waving American flags and chanting “USA, USA.” BCPD officers patrolled the Mods throughout the night.

About Eleanor Hildebrandt 92 Articles
Eleanor Hildebrandt was the 2014 Editor-in-Chief of The Heights. She liked puns then and it's a safe bet that she likes them now. Follow her on Twitter at @ehhilde.