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School is back in session Northeastern University after package exploded, injuring 1


Classes at Northeastern University in Boston are back on a normal schedule today as authorities investigate a package that exploded there Tuesday night and sent one person to the hospital with minor injuries. As NPR's Tovia Smith reports, no one's been arrested, and investigators are not commenting on a possible motive.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: Police say the package exploded as a 45-year-old man who works at Northeastern was opening it. An ambulance took him to the hospital as federal, local and university law enforcement officials swarmed the area and evacuated nearby buildings.



I was just, like, panicking a little bit.

SMITH: This student took video on her phone as she evacuated. She asked that her name not be used for fear of becoming a target herself, since the perpetrators are still at large.



SMITH: She was even more rattled after learning a second package was found nearby, even though that was eventually rendered safe by a bomb squad.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: All of us kind of started freaking out at that point. Nothing was clear. Like, you have to assume that everything is dangerous.

SMITH: The packages were found in Holmes Hall, an academic building connected to Northeastern's Virtual Reality Lab. Officials have said nothing about how the packages got there, who they were intended for or who sent them. The last official comment came last night, when Boston Police Superintendent Felipe Colon said it was too early to talk about motive or suspects.


FELIPE COLON: It's ongoing. It's a fluid investigation as we're working to try to gather those facts.

SMITH: But meantime, unconfirmed reports are swirling that the package came with a rambling note criticizing Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the relationship between virtual reality developers and universities. The uncertainty leaves many on edge, including Suzanna Walters, director of Northeastern's Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies, which is also in Holmes Hall. Walters originally feared her program was the target.

SUZANNA WALTERS: It seemed logical to presume because they love to target us. But it looks like this time they hated robots more than women.

SMITH: Though, again, officials have yet to confirm who was the target. Walters says police and canines came back to the VR lab today and asked her to leave her office, which is a few doors away. But they shed no more light on what happened last night. For their part, Northeastern officials acknowledged the heightened anxiety on campus and offered counseling. As Walters put it, what would be really helpful would be more answers.

Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Tovia Smith
Tovia Smith is an award-winning NPR National Correspondent based in Boston, who's spent more than three decades covering news around New England and beyond.