Twelve bomb threats in one day. The first couple may have seemed like a joke, or a strange hope for canceled classes, but it is a serious issue. The University of Pittsburgh has been plagued with more than 60 bomb threats since Feb. 13. It began with a note in a bathroom, and has escalated to anonymous emails being sent to news outlets in Pittsburgh.
Although no explosives have gone off or been found, numerous buildings are evacuated each time a threat occurs. The university sends out alerts through its emergency notification system of emails, texts and Tweets, similar to TU Alerts. The university is following the proper procedures and taking the necessary precautions needed to ensure the safety of its students.
After late nights being evacuated from dorms, and many classes being canceled during the day, it can become annoying for Pitt students to just wait around until they are allowed to go back into buildings. But even the students are taking action to deal with the threats.
A Google document was started for students living on campus to find students off campus willing to offer a couch or floor space to house them when ousted from the dorms. Others have started a blog, “Stop the Pitt bomb threats,” to exchange ideas on how they can stop the threats. It has become a scary concern for many students, and it may be even more unnerving if the university was not taking it seriously.
This issue is no longer just a joke. According to the Department of Justice, a false bomb threat is a federal offense. Whoever is sending these threats can be punished with jail time and/or fines. For such serious consequences, universities should be expected to take serious action. The more lax they are about the threats, the harder it may be to find who is sending them.
Although it may seem like enough is enough, now is not the time to stop taking precautions. Universities must continue to do what they have been doing, no matter the inconvenience. When the lives of so many students are at risk, this cannot become a lighthearted issue. It may seem hard to keep up with an investigation when so many threats are false, but the school must not back down. When they do, they become vulnerable, and may put many in danger if the threat is in fact real.
I would much rather have my day inconvenienced by an evacuation than to be a part of a tragic situation that could have been prevented. As the saying goes, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”
Sarae Gdovin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.