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UMass Dartmouth closed today amid investigation

Many area colleges resumed normal operations today, after being closed on Friday amid the manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, however, remains closed.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the bombing suspect who was arrested last night after a tense manhunt in Watertown, was a student at the school and spent a normal day on campus Wednesday. His brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan, died after a shootout in Watertown earlier Friday.

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A school official said that UMass Dartmouth is closed today so law enforcement can have ample breathing room to investigate Tsarnaev’s dorm room. University, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are on the case, said John Hoey, university assistant chancellor for public affairs.

“The university probably could have re-opened except for that one building, but this will give law enforcement a lot of space to complete their work,” Hoey said this morning.

The school hopes to reopen tomorrow, but has not made a decision, Hoey said. The school will announce that information as soon as the decision is made.

“We want to return to our operations and our academic enterprise as soon as possible while meeting the needs of law enforcement,” Hoey said.

With the dorms closed, most students were able to find accommodations with friends and family yesterday, Hoey said. The university is paying for 90 students to stay in a hotel last night and tonight.

Moving forward, the university’s students and staff will have to work through the shock that the younger Tsarnaev, their friend, peer, and student, may have carried out Monday’s attacks.

“We will have a full complement of counseling staff available to the campus community,” Hoey said. “Our housing staff and our religious staff will be very high profile in reaching out to students. We’re going to make sure students know we are available to them and that they can trust us.”

Students at Massachusetts Bay Community College in Framingham, which is open today, learned that Tamerlan Tsarnaev enrolled in two classes at the school in spring 2008. Tsarnaev dropped out after a few weeks, according to an email from college President John O’Donnell sent to the campus community.

It has been a trying week for the community college. Krystle Campbell, 29, of Arlington, who was one of three people killed in the bombings, graduated from MassBay in 2005. The college plans to hold a ceremony remembering her on Monday at 2:30 p.m., almost exactly one week after the attack at the finish line near Copley Square.

“The irony that both a victim and a suspected perpetrator of this heinous crime attended our College is not lost on us,” O’Donnell wrote in the email. “It is a stark reminder that both good and evil are part of our everyday lives, everywhere.”

Colleges closer to Boston are taking steps toward normalcy, but some scheduled events remain cancelled.

Boston College, Cambridge College, Lesley University, MIT, Roxbury Community College, Suffolk University, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston are all open, according to their websites.

Berklee College of Music is open except for a few buildings, according to the college’s website.

Boston University is open, but today’s classes on the Charles River Campus are cancelled, according to the university’s website.

At Emerson College, the dining facilities, library and fitness center will be open, but makeup classes originally planned for Saturday and Sunday are cancelled, and the visitor center will not give tours or information sessions, the college’s website said.

Northeastern University is open, but Saturday classes remain cancelled, and the College of Professional Studies commencement ceremony and Welcome Day activities were rescheduled for Sunday, according to an email to students from the university.

The Boston and Medford/Somerville campuses of Tufts University will be mostly closed until 5 p.m. today. Some campus facilities, including the dining halls, gym, and library, are open normal hours today, according to Tufts’ website.

Chris Stuck-Girard can be reached at chrisstuckgirard@gmail.com.
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