Carnegie Mellon University
September 15, 2016

Campus email on false emergency alert

Vice President for Operations Rodney P. McClendon sent out the following email to all faculty, staff, and students on CMU’s Pittsburgh campus on Thursday afternoon:

To Members of the CMU Community:

During routine testing of a Carnegie Mellon University emergency communications system this afternoon, a false alarm was inadvertently sent to several buildings on the Pittsburgh campus.

The pre-recorded message referred to a gunman and a weapon at Mellon Institute, but there was at no time any incident or suspicion of a gun or gunman, and no member of the CMU community was ever in danger. The message was purely an emergency communications error.

The message was broadcast at 2:12 p.m. through interior wall speakers in Mellon Institute, Scott Hall, and the East Campus and Dithridge Street garages, as well as outdoor speakers near Scott Hall. A recall message was sent at 2:19 p.m. through the speakers in Mellon Institute. Another recall message was sent at 2:29 via text message to all enrolled in the CMU-Alert program. CMU Police immediately responded to Mellon Institute, to ensure safety and help deliver the all-clear message in person.

Our highest priority is your safety, and effective communications is an important part of that. We take this error seriously, and regret the anxiety it created. Please know that we will continue to rehearse our response to any threats to safety, and refine our systems to ensure that we can reach you effectively in the case of a real emergency. To find out more about our emergency alert system and how you can be best informed, please see


Rodney P. McClendon
Vice President for Operations
Carnegie Mellon University