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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Suspicious package explodes at Northeastern University

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Josh Kotler
Students walk past Northeastern’s Holmes Hall, where a package exploded last week. Photo by Josh Kotler / Mass Media Staff

Two suspicious items were sent to a Northeastern University building, and one of them detonated when a staff member opened it just after 7 p.m., causing minor hand injuries. At 7:55 p.m., Northeastern University students received an email warning them to stay away from the vicinity of 39 Leon St., where the package exploded. Jason Duhaime, 45, a male employee, was taken to a nearby hospital, officials announced earlier that evening during a press conference.
“I did not stage this, in no way, shape or form…They need to catch the guy that did this,” said Duhaime to the Boston Globe. “It’s a very traumatic thing that has occurred so [I’m] shaken up…I’m not doing so good,” expressed Duhaime, who works in the virtual reality lab at Northeastern.
The Boston Police Department assisted NEU Police in investigating the incident. Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox denied commenting on anything about the incident or the investigation on the evening of the accident. Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said his office is “ready to work with the university and our law enforcement partners on any prosecutions that may develop.”
Just after news of the explosion, universities across the Greater Boston area, including Harvard, MIT, Boston University and UMass Boston, released official statements alerting students about the suspicious packages. In a statement, Northeastern University officials said: “We would like to underscore what was communicated to our community last night: Multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure. Classes, research, and all other campus activities have resumed today.”
UMass Boston sent a security email stating, “A package delivered to a Northeastern University address exploded upon opening, injuring at least one person. Please exercise caution when handling package deliveries, particularly those that are unanticipated.”
The day after the incident, the university sent out another email assuring students about the situation. The email read that the problem at NEU was safe and under control and the FBI was handling the investigation. “This incident should serve as a reminder that in general if you ‘see something, say something’ and in particular to exercise extreme caution with package deliveries,” read the UMass Boston email.
Northeastern students complained that the situation was not made transparent to them and that they were only informed roughly 40 minutes after the incident.
A Boston police spokesperson confirmed that there were reports of a suspicious object at the Museum of Fine Arts. Still, the object was neither explosive nor connected to the incident at NEU. Kristen Setera, a public affairs advisor at the FBI’s Boston division, denied providing details about the investigation in order to “protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
The campus was beefed up with security and surveillance to assure students of a state of normalcy. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, NEU officials released a new joint statement from the office of David Madigan, Northeastern’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Kenneth Henderson, Chancellor and Senior Vice President, stating, “Events such as the incident that took place on our Boston campus last night can create or heighten anxiety for many of us.”
Amid Welcome Week events at UMass Boston, Karen Ferrer-Muñiz, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, reminded students to follow the “see something, say something” principle if they find anything suspicious on campus. If any student suspects something like that, the UMass Boston Police can be reached at (617) 287-7777. For those students seeking mental health support, the counseling center offers 24/7 services to UMass Boston students. Feel free to reach out at (617) 287-5690 for counseling support.

About the Contributors
Kaushar Barejiya, News Editor
Josh Kotler, Photographer