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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

’Deis monitors security after Iran tensions

Published: February 10, 2012
Section: Front Page

As Israel debates whether to launch a preemptive strike against the rising threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued security alerts and warnings to Brandeis University and other Boston-area sites, Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said.

“All it takes is a little information to put people on high alert,” Callahan said in a phone interview Thursday. “We’re aware of this concern but at this point in time, we just need to go about our daily lives.”

Brandeis regularly receives e-mail bulletins from Homeland Security and the Massachusetts State Police Fusion Center, a division that provides warning to private entities in the state, Callahan said.

Because of the university’s sponsorship from the American Jewish community and its large population of Jewish students, Public Safety often communicates with the federal government to ensure its police and officials are up-to-date on security threats related to conflict in the Middle East.

Following a U.N. report last November from the International Atomic Energy Agency citing concerns that Iran was using nuclear power to build a bomb, rather than peacefully produce energy, the United States and its European allies have adopted strict economic sanctions. Yet the international community, led by Israel, must now debate whether those sanctions can effectively stop Iran from producing a bomb or whether Israel will run out of time to defend itself against a first strike.

Senior Vice President for Communications Andrew Gully said the university is aware of increased tensions and security alerts but believes current policies on campus are effective.

“We’re always aware of any heightened security alerts that come out of the State Department, the commonwealth or out of local law enforcement,” Gully told The Herald this week. “The university is aware of warnings that have been out there. We’re assessing those warnings. We’re confident in the safety and security of the campus.”

Israeli government offices in Back Bay and other Jewish locations in Boston have added police patrols because of the security threats issued, The Boston Herald reported on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department did not respond to requests for comment Thursday afternoon.