University of Pittsburgh

Chancellor Issues Update About Campus Bomb Threats

To: Members of the University Community

From: Mark A. Nordenberg

Re: Bomb Threats

Date: April 3, 2012

Very early this morning, the University received a bomb threat targeting the Litchfield Towers, and by mid-morning, another bomb threat targeting the Chevron Science Center was made. These were the third and fourth bomb threats targeting Pitt buildings to be received in less than 24 hours and the 10th and 11th to be received in recent weeks. Each of these threats has been disruptive – requiring the evacuation of facilities, interfering with classes, interrupting other important work and, in the case of the Litchfield Towers threat, causing students to leave their residence hall rooms in the middle of the night.

Each threat has been taken seriously, with safety standing as our highest priority. Careful searches of each evacuated building, using trained canine units from within the University and from other area police departments, have detected no evidence of any explosives of any kind at any site. We are thankful for that result and are deeply grateful for the help we have received, both in clearing buildings and in pressing forward with the ongoing investigation, from many other law enforcement agencies. In fact, it should be underscored that those efforts represent one of the many significant costs resulting from these threats – that limited police resources have been reallocated from other pressing matters to be invested in the security of this campus.

The inability to bring this succession of threats to a quick end obviously is a source of frustration for everyone whose life has been disrupted by them. But I can assure you that law enforcement professionals are doing everything they can to pursue all possible leads. And, as most of you already know, in addition to the police work and related efforts being undertaken within the University itself, we have offered a very substantial reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for these crimes.

Even without the motivation that might be provided by a reward, I ask all members of the University community to be especially attentive to any unusual activity and to share any relevant information with the University of Pittsburgh Police. Representatives of the Department can be reached by phone at 412-624-2121 or by e-mail at 

Particularly given last month’s shootings at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and recent reminders of violence on other campuses, those responsible for these threats not only lack basic respect for the thousands of people whose lives have been disrupted by them but must possess a heartless streak. When those responsible are apprehended, we will work to ensure that they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Until then, driven by a different set of values, we will maintain safety as our priority and do our best to cope with whatever further disruptions may come our way.