President’s email addresses student concerns honestly

So far this semester, the phrase “Did you hear about the bomb threat?” has become as commonplace as “How about that heat?” The bomb threats have been troubling to students, particularly first-years, who might think that such security scares are the norm at college — or at Carnegie Mellon.

In light of this concern, President Cohon’s recent university-wide e-mail served to alleviate (at least partially) our fears and explain not only what’s going on, but what Carnegie Mellon is doing about it.

The e-mail came on 9/11, a day when most of us were probably more concerned about safety than ever, and began by putting the three recent campus bomb threats into some much-needed context.

Our university is one of several that have received the same type of threats, sent anonymously by e-mail. According to Cohon, no bombs have been discovered at any of the targeted universities — a fact that should come as a relief.

Additionally, Cohon assured us that prior to this semester Carnegie Mellon had not received a bomb threat for at least 10 years.

Cohon also addressed the recent water main break, adding that our campus may face future water-related emergencies and that Carnegie Mellon is prepared to handle them.

Perhaps most reassuring was Cohon’s explanation of how the administration decides how to handle a threat. Essentially, there are two considerations: safety (the top priority) and quick communication.

It helps us as students to understand how the administration thinks so that we can take advantage of Carnegie Mellon’s response to security threats as they happen.

Lastly, Cohon asked for our participation and feedback. He encouraged students to sign up for AlertNow ( and to e-mail him or Associate Vice President Michael Murphy with comments or concerns.

We appreciate our president’s effort to keep us informed and hear our feedback. Threats to our campus will never disappear entirely, but a concerned administration can help us feel a little bit safer.