To date, the University of Pittsburgh has received over two dozen bomb threats in recent weeks. The administration has been its best to keep the students calm, but authorities have yet come up with one suspect.
Since mid-February, the threats have caused the university to new and expensive security measures as they are periodically forced to evacuate school buildings and delay classes as new bomb threats come in, reported the Daily News. Professors are now being forced to hold class outside as officials scramble to find out who is behind the threats.
The mood is exasperation, real exasperation, and I have to say considerable anger towards the individual or individuals , whoever it may be, and wondering what is the motive and what is the person trying to accomplish, George Reid Andrews, the chairman of Pitt's history department, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Students are being rousted from dorms in the night. This is obviously not the way to live.
Due to the constant evacuations, there are some students who afraid to return to their classrooms as final exams slowly approaches. Brian Haughwout, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, explained that he had one of his exams changed to a take-home test because of the threats.
But I think just shutting down the university would be a mistake, he said, reported the Associated Press. He believes shutting down the school is probably what the person making the threats wants.
Professors are asked to not be strict when it comes to attendance. Some professors have posted their lectures online or moved their r classes to other locations, including their homes, reported the Post-Gazette.
The university is also urging faculty, which consists of 3,800 full-time professors serving 34,000 students, to make arrangements for students who were forced to missed classes or exams due to the evacuation. University of Pittsburgh said it has no plans to end the semester early.
As students walk though campus, they are discovering firsthand the extra precautions that are being taken. Various doors have been locked, with signs redirecting them to other entrances and exits. Extra security has been put in place at specific checkpoints as guards check backpacks and student identification.
It seems that they're taking all the appropriate steps, said Brian Graham, a fifth-year chemistry student, reported the AP.
Students do not blame the university and appear to be grateful they are doing everything they can to track down the individual.
The end of the semester is stressful enough without this, said Mitch Martin, according to the Post-Gazette. But it's nice to know that safety is the highest priority and they are taking all of these security measures.
Behind the scenes, local police, the FBI and the Join Terrorism Task Force have been working in conjunction with one another order to find the individual responsible. Authorities have yet to find any bombs at the locations where the threats have been made.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton issued a statement on Friday commending Pitt's response. He also said that the threats are being are being vigorously, aggressively and thoroughly investigated through every possible mean by the appropriate law enforcement officials.