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Published: Wednesday, 4/24/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

University of Findlay says previous person of interest in Boston bombing never attended school

Radio personality Glenn Beck reported Saudi national was listed as a student

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Members of the University of Findlay administration sent a letter out to students this week, letting them know concerns about a student who applied to the university, and who was once identified as a person of interest with the Boston Marathon bombings, were unnecessary.

The university has received calls and questions about Saudi national Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi, who was injured at the scene of the bombings on April 15.

After radio personality Glenn Beck revealed on his show Monday that Mr. Al-Harbi's Department of Homeland Security event file stated that he was a student at the University of Findlay on a visa, even though he had an apartment in Boston, students and the community posted on the university's Twitter page, asking about the allegations.

Mr. Beck was questioning on his radio show why Mr. Al-Harbi never showed up at the university and where he resides currently, since Findlay was the listed college.

University spokesman Brianna Patterson said the letter from campus officials was sent out in an attempt to better inform students of the situation.

“There were some rumors associated with this incident that we were basically trying to dispel,” she said, adding that there was “a lot of miscommunication” involved, and that the letter that was sent was a basic clarification of the facts.

“It's really kind of a non-issue. We just wanted to make the students aware,” Ms. Patterson said.

She said Mr. Al-Harbi applied to the university in 2011, with an expected start date of Jan. 2012, but never reported to campus, nor did he enroll or register for classes.

Ms. Patterson said that there are rules that state universities must notify the government about the status of international students.

“The university follows all of the status guidelines, which are determined by the U.S. government, regarding international students,” she said. “There's a whole process that we follow.”

Mr. Al-Harbi was a person of interest at the scene of the bombings, where he was injured. When he arrived at the hospital, he was questioned by law enforcement and then later released. He is no longer considered a person of interest, authorities have reported.

The public started asking questions after hearing the radio show, Ms. Patterson said.

“ "We just wanted to make sure students were clear,” she said.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-724-6522 or on Twitter @KMcBlade.



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