Living at Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh has installed and maintains exterior lighting around all of its buildings, including additional sidewalk and street lighting. While maintaining an attractive campus, ground crews keep shrubs and hedges low for safety reasons, especially in places such as bus stops. On any normal workday, there are scores of Pitt support personnel whose jobs include providing inspection of the entire campus and its buildings to discover and correct health, safety, and maintenance problems. They work, in addition to Pitt police and others who tour campus, to report safety-related problems to the Facilities Management Division, which responds to correct these problems promptly. As part of their duties, residence life staff members continuously report security and maintenance matters. Emergency maintenance and housekeeping services are available 24 hours a day. 

University Buildings and Programs

Except for resident living areas, most Pitt facilities are open to the public during the day and evening hours when classes are in session. During the times that the University is officially closed, its buildings are locked, and only faculty, staff, and—for some buildings—students with a Pitt ID are admitted. Athletic facilities require an appropriate ID at all times for admittance. Some Pitt-sponsored programs are open to the general public, while others are restricted to students with a valid Pitt ID. Additional security personnel staff major events such as athletic contests.

Living at Pitt

The University of Pittsburgh Police Department, Office of Residence Life, Panther Central, and Housing Services work cooperatively to provide resident students with a safe and secure environment. It is important that students and staff work together to enhance the quality of life and safety in the residence halls.

To accommodate graduate and undergraduate students during the academic year, the University maintains nearly 8,300 residential beds in 14 residence halls, nine fraternity houses, 14 apartment-style buildings, and five off-campus apartment buildings. Types of accommodations include singles, doubles, triples, quads, suites, and apartments.

Most campus buildings—including housing facilities—contain card access systems; systems can be monitored by Pitt police personnel. 

University police officers are responsible for security within all resident living areas on their respective beats, and they patrol on foot inside all residence halls, fraternity houses, and apartment-style buildings on campus.

Residence Hall Security

When you check into a residence hall, you receive information about campus safety and residence hall security, such as:

  • whom to call in case of an emergency;
  • what procedures to follow in case of a fire evacuation;
  • what to do if you are locked out of your room;
  • how to mark valuables;
  • visitation, alcohol, and drug policies; and
  • general campus safety, among other topics.

At your first floor meeting, which is mandatory and held by the resident assistant, you can acquaint yourself with unique aspects of your residence hall community and the security practices you can follow to make your University environment safer. 

Entrances to all residence halls have security desks staffed by attendants controlling access 24 hours a day and seven days a week while school is in session. Each year, Pitt trains desk attendants in University security and fire safety procedures.

All residence hall entrances have security doors that are monitored by both an electronic access system and a desk attendant.

Residence Life Staff

  • Area coordinators (ACs), resident directors (RDs), and more than 160 resident assistants (RAs) staff the living areas of the residence halls. RDs supervise the RAs.
  • ACs and RDs undergo comprehensive training before and during each school year. This training includes how to handle various emergencies—psychological and medical, fire evacuation, reports of sexual misconduct, disorderly conduct, vandalism, etc.
  • There is a residence life staff member on call 24 hours a day in the residence halls. RDs also maintain scheduled office hours during the day and in the evening. RAs and RDs are on duty every evening, including weekends, during all three terms and/or sessions to assist students in any manner. 
  • Panther Central, located in the main Litchfield Towers lobby, 412-648-1100, is available 24 hours a day to assist you in contacting the residence life staff. RAs also provide security assistance within the building by touring their areas during the week and on weekends. 

Security Features in Students’ Rooms

Every accommodation within the residence hall has its own lock and key or key card/ID. When using a key card, it is the student’s University ID and it is encoded for the student’s room only. The card and a pin number are required to open the door. If using a key, the keys are coded with core numbers rather than room numbers so that a lost key cannot be identified with a particular room. Therefore, the University strongly advises that students do not attach their IDs to their keys. Residents should also lock their doors and windows at all times and carry their keys with them.

Campus telephones also are provided in each residence hall corridor.

Guest Sign-in Procedures

Q    How can I sign in a guest to my residence hall?
A    To enter a residence hall, residents must show their Pitt ID, which is electronically validated for their residence hall, and all guests must have a photo ID. Visitor IDs must be scanned upon entering and exiting the residence hall, and visitors must be escorted by the resident they are visiting at all times while they are in the building.

Q    When may guests visit me?
   Students must establish and regulate room visitation hours with their roommates. Roommate approval is required for visitors at any time. Students may refer to the Residential Handbook of Conduct for guest and visitation rules.

Q    What happens if my guest commits a violation?
A
    Residents will be accountable for rule infractions for all visitors/guests, including those scanned in by the resident, as well as all visitors/guests within a resident’s accomodation.

Guests Other than Visitors of Residents

Guests, other than visitors of residents, occupy residence halls when space is available during the summer, approximately May 15 through July 31. These guests include participants attending Pitt-sponsored academic or social programs and groups that have an educational or academic purpose.

Housing Assignments and Requests for Changes

The Housing/Dining Services contract is valid for both the fall and spring terms. Students should be prepared to meet successive deposit due dates in future years to maintain any housing guarantee.

Upper-class students participate in a process each February to determine eligibility and the order in which they will select housing for the next year. First-year students who respond to Pitt’s offer of admission by the May 1 due date and meet all required deadlines and deposits are guaranteed housing. The University assigns resident students based upon the information provided in their contracts and the availability of the requested accommodations.

Panther Central and Office of Residence Life staff process and approve room change requests, contingent upon available space. 

If roommates are having difficulty sharing a room, they should first try to communicate with each other to resolve any issues, as well as complete the Roommate Agreement. If those attempts are unsuccessful, the residents meet with the resident assistant to discuss the issue and resolve any roommate situations.

Missing Student Protocol

In keeping with federal law, 20 U.S.C. § 1092j, the Office of Residence Life will initiate the following missing student notification policy. Each student living on campus has the opportunity to list a missing persons contact by completing an emergency contact form available at the Office of Residence Life. When a student is reported missing, residence life staff will immediately contact the Pitt police. The Pitt police will attempt to notify the emergency contact within 24 hours to verify if the person is missing or has voluntarily left his or her residence. 

To report a suspicion that a student is missing, contact should be made with the student’s resident director, the Office of Residence Life, the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Students, or the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. If you know a student is missing, contact the Pitt police immediately.

  1. Each student living on campus has the opportunity to list a missing persons contact by completing an emergency contact form available at the Office of Residence Life or updating their emergency contact information within their housing application. Pitt will treat the named emergency contact as the missing persons contact unless otherwise specified by the student. The student should notify the missing persons contact and, if different, the emergency contact, that he or she has been so designated.
    • In the event of a determination that a student is missing, the Pitt police will attempt to notify the listed contact within 24 hours. Even if a contact is not registered, the Pitt police should be notified immediately if the student is missing.
  2. At any point during a student’s enrollment, he or she may choose to register or change missing person contact or emergency contact information with the University by notifying the Office of Residence Life. This information will be maintained in Office of Residence Life records that will be immediately accessible by University staff who will implement this policy. Only authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation may have access to the missing person contact information.
  3. Residence life staff, or other employees having knowledge of a missing student, whether or not that student lives on or off campus, will immediately contact the Pitt police when a student is reported missing.
  4. The Pitt police will be responsible for filing all related missing person reports with other agencies as may be required and conduct an investigation.
  5. No later than 24 hours after a student is reported missing, the Pitt police or its designee will be responsible for contacting the appropriate contact.
  6. The Pitt police will notify a parent or legal guardian no later than 24 hours after a student is determined to be missing if a student is under the age of 18.
  7. Residence Life staff will serve as support personnel when a student is determined missing and make appropriate contacts within the University (University Counseling Center, dean of students, academic dean of student’s school, and Pitt police).

Housing during Holidays and between Terms

Residence halls are closed during the winter recess with the exception of Tower A and Tower C, which accommodate 12-month housing students. During holidays when the University is open, apartment-style on-campus housing also remains open. Pitt police continue to patrol resident living areas, and RAs and RDs also are on duty. Students should attend to security needs during these periods, particularly the storage of any valuable items.

University-owned Apartment Housing 

The University operates 324 apartment units in north and central Oakland and Shadyside. University-owned apartment housing is occupied almost exclusively by Pitt students, primarily by graduate and professional school students and their families. All multiunit buildings have a paging system for visitors, and most front doors lock electronically. University police and/or city police patrol University-owned apartment housing areas. 

University police and city of Pittsburgh police regularly share crime information as it relates to University-owned apartment housing. 

Noncampus Student Organizations

The Pitt police and city of Pittsburgh police share information regarding criminal activity at facilities maintained by Pitt’s noncampus student organizations.

Safety Abroad

The health and safety of students studying and traveling abroad has consistently been a primary concern for those who lead Pitt’s overseas programs. All students earning study abroad credits participate in at least one mandatory orientation program with staff from the Study Abroad Office at the University Center for International Studies. This program covers issues such as personal safety, health, insurance, alcohol, drugs, emergencies abroad, crime, and security. All faculty leading study abroad programs participate in the Safe Practices Workshop for Faculty On-site Directors led by the study abroad director. View more information on health, safety, and security while abroad.