SECURITY ALERT - Terror Attack in Belgium

April 20, 2016

On Monday, 3/22/16, a terrorist bomb attack targeting an airport and subway station in Brussels, Belgium killed 35 people and injured over 300. There is no known nexus to New York City but both cities have similar infrastructure so now is a good time to review how we would react to such a threat or actual attack.

According to media sources, at least 28 people have been killed and more than 130 wounded following today's attacks in Brussels, Belgium. The numbers of fatalities and those injured are expected to rise. Belgian Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw has told Belgian media outlets that at least one of the blasts at the Zaventem airport is believed to be a suicide bombing. All of Brussels metro stations have been shut down as a safety precaution. Today's bombings at the airport and metro station occurred four days after the arrest of Salah Abdesalam in Brussels.  Abdesalam is believed to be behind the November attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

The New York City Police Department is closely monitoring the situation in Belgium and is in close contact with their international partners and with the FBI. As a precaution, NYPD has deployed additional counterterrorism resources across the city including: the Counterterrorism Response Command (CRC), the Strategic Response Group (SRG), and Hercules Teams. These teams have been deployed to crowded areas and transit locations around the city to provide a police presence. At this time, there is no known indication that the attack has any nexus to New York City.
Now is a good time to review how we would react to such a threat or actual attack. If the campus ever receives a terrorist threat, the Graduate Center's Emergency Operations Plan will be activated. This plan is designed to protect life and property in the event of a major disaster.  The Office of Security & Public Safety is in radio contact with the NYC Office of Emergency Management and receives up-to-the-minute e-mail alerts from the NYPD during an emergency.  The Graduate Center will use all available information to provide direction and instructions about specific situations and actions to take, such as evacuation, in-building relocation or sheltering-in-place. This information will be communicated by public address announcements, community e-mails, the GC web site and CUNY Alert.

Our response will depend on the type and location of an incident.  Generally, if the threat or attack is inside our building or close enough outside to threaten our building, we will activate the building evacuation plan. Empire State Building (ESB) bomb threats will be handled as they have in the past and will depend on information received from ESB and NYPD personnel who will have more information concerning the actual threat. The Graduate Center will be guided by the NYPD's recommendations and instructions.

If the threat or attack involves an outdoor environmental release of a hazardous material (chemical, biological or radiological/'Dirty Bomb'), you should be prepared to remain inside the building. You will be directed to move to the interior of the building away from windows. As a precaution, the HVAC system will be shut down and elevators will be taken out of service to prevent the spread of any hazardous material. You will be asked to remain in the building until it is determined that it is safe to leave.

Students, staff and faculty should continue to go about their normal business but should report any suspicious activity immediately by calling x7777.  You can prepare for an emergency by learning fire exit locations and evacuation routes. If you have not signed up for the CUNY Alert emergency notification system, go to to participate.

For additional information on emergency procedures please visit our website at Thank you.