Pitt Students React To Bomb Threats

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The University of Pittsburgh has seen three bomb threats in the last 24 hours and nine since March 14. Clearly, something is amiss.
Early this morning, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter received this email shortly after 2 a.m.: “Our bomb is in a room in Litchfield Towers not too far above Panther Central.” All three Litchfield Towers dorms were swiftly evacuated while bomb-sniffing dogs searched the buildings. Students were not allowed back in their dorms until 6:15 a.m.
Similar bomb threats have been found scribbled on bathroom stalls in the Chevron Science Center and Cathedral of Learning (the 42-story tower that defines Pitt’s campus) in recent weeks. Not only are students feeling uneasy and frustrated, but the threats are now also beginning to interfere with their educations.
 “I’ve only missed one class from the threats, but it was the last class before an exam so it was pretty crucial,” said Pitt sophomore Phebe Lockyer. “My teacher was great about providing extra help sessions, but I know a lot of other people that haven’t been so lucky and are being tested as normal despite missing classes. It’s a huge inconvenience.”
Sophomore Hannah Gelman knows the feeling: “Being evacuated from buildings weekly has taken class time away from my education, which is very frustrating.”
The entirety of Oakland (where Pitt’s campus is located) has been on edge for a month ever since a gunman walked into the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and shot eight people, wounding seven and killing one. On the heels of such a grisly event, the university can’t afford to not take a bomb threat seriously.
“I feel as safe as you can when someone threatens to blow up your campus twice a day,” said Lockyer. “I believe [the university] takes every threat equally seriously because they would be liable if anything were to happen.”
Lockyer is more worried about students becoming “desensitized” to the threats, creating a “’cry wolf’ type situation where the second no one cares, the threats will be real.”
She is most upset about the fact no one has been caught yet in connection to these threats. Hopefully, she said, the university has learned at least one lesson from this ordeal.
“I think it’s absurd that the buildings don’t have cameras,” said Lockyer. “The Cathedral is such a high-traffic building there’s no reason it shouldn’t be under surveillance, especially after all the threats.”
Pitt officials are offering an unprecedented $50,000 reward for any information that could lead them to the person or people who are causing this chaos. Even with the culprit(s) still at large, Gelman isn’t allowing the heightened state of security to affect her life.
“I have never felt unsafe on this campus,” she said.

Junior > Journalism > University of Maryland

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