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Living at Pitt
Security of and Access to Campus Facilites
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 Office of Facilities Management, which responds to correct these problems promptly.
As part of their duties, Office of Residence Life staff members continually report security and maintenance matters. Emergency maintenance and housekeeping services are available 24 hours a day.
University Buildings and Programs
During the times that the University is officially closed, its buildings are locked, and only faculty, staff and—for some buildings— students with a valid Pitt ID are admitted. Effective July 1, 2022, COVID-related access restrictions for University buildings were removed. Should the health or safety of our campus community change significantly, this may be revisited.
Face covering requirements on Pitt’s campus automatically go into effect when the CDC Community Level goes to High. Visit coronavirus.pitt.edu for current Community Levels and check digital signage around campus. Otherwise, face coverings are optional on campus; however, anyone is welcome to wear a face covering at any time on campus. Please continue to manage your personal health in ways that you are most comfortable and that align with University standards and guidelines while protecting public health.
Athletic facilities require an appropriate ID at all times for admittance. Additional security personnel staff major events such as athletic contests. During the pandemic, most programs will be offered virtually. All in-person events will be limited based on the current University operational posture.
Outside-the-classroom student activities are continuing as scheduled, including club sports and student organization events. Many of these events are already being offered virtually or in a hybrid format, and students should participate as they are comfortable, while following Pitt’s health and safety standards and guidelines. Go to coronavirus.pitt.edu for the most up-to-date information.
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 all University housing.
To accommodate graduate and undergraduate students during the academic year, the University maintains nearly 8,500 residential beds in a variety of spaces: residence halls, fraternity houses, apartment-style buildings and 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. Pitt police officers are responsible for security within all resident living areas in their respective patrol areas, and they patrol on foot inside all residence halls, apartment-style buildings and University-owned housing.
Residence Hall Security
When you move 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 or community 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 desks staffed by welcome attendants who control access 24 hours a day and seven days a week while school is in session. Each year, Pitt trains welcome attendants in University security and fire safety procedures.
In addition to welcome attendants, security doors at the entrances that are monitored by an electronic access system.
Residence Life Staff
- Area coordinators (ACs), resident directors (RDs), and more than 180 student staff (resident assistants (RAs) and community assistants (CAs) 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, de-escalating training, disorderly conduct, reporting vandalism, etc.
- There is a residence life staff member on call 24 hours a day for the residence halls. RAs and RDs are on duty every evening, including weekends, while classes are in session, 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. Panther Central Express in the lobby of Sutherland Hall is available Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 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 hard key lock or Panther Card access electronic lock. When using a key card, it is encoded for the student’s building and room only. The card is 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 also should 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?
A 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 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, may 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.
Students who would like to live in University-owned housing for the next academic year 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 for three years. 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 or revisit the Roommate/Suitemate Agreement completed at the beginning of the year or when the roommate relationship began. If those attempts are unsuccessful, the residents meet with the resident assistant to discuss the issue and resolve any roommate situations. If the outcome of that conversation is a room change, the RD/CD will assist in facilitating the process as space becomes available.
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 protocol. 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 their 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 Dean of Students, or the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. If you know a student is missing, contact the Pitt Police immediately.
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 they have 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.
At any point during a student’s enrollment, a student 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 protocol. Only authorized campus officials and law enforcement officers in furtherance of a missing person investigation may have access to the missing person contact information.
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.
The Pitt Police will be responsible for filing all related missing person reports with other agencies as may be required and conduct an investigation. Pitt Police will be responsible for contacting the local law enforcement agency within 24 hours of making the determination that a student is missing. In general, Pitt Police will consider a person to be missing if they have not been located within 24 hours of receiving the initial report.
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.
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 and not emancipated.
Residence Life staff will serve as support personnel when a student is determined missing and make appropriate contacts within the University (University Counseling Center, Office of the 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. NOTE: Pre-approved students who have signed a separate Winter Recess Housing contract may remain in their residence hall accommodation for winter recess. During holidays when the University is open, apartment-style on-campus housing also remains open. Pitt Police continue to patrol resident living areas. Students should attend to security needs during these periods, particularly the storage of any valuable items.
University-owned Apartment Housing
The University operates 432 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 multi-unit buildings have a paging system for visitors, and most front doors lock electronically. Pitt Police and/or city police patrol University-owned apartment housing areas.
The Pitt Police and the Pittsburgh Police regularly share crime information as it relates to University-owned apartment housing.
Noncampus Student Organizations
The Pitt Police and the Pittsburgh Police share information regarding criminal activity at facilities maintained by Pitt’s non-campus student organizations.
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 Global Experiences 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. More information is available at globalexperiences.pitt.edu/safetysecurity.