One of the chief areas of concern for West Virginia University and University Police is the safety of students and those on campus. Two years ago, University Police introduced a text alert system. This system uses SMS texting available on most cell phones, and provides a way to notify a large number of people very quickly about immediate danger.
The system currently offers an “Emergency Alert,” a “Crime Alert” and a “Weather Alert,” and anyone can sign up for these text messages. However, as the system has been put into practice, University Police have received important feedback from the population it seeks to protect – namely, students. With their input, University Police have decided to limit the use of the text alert system and reserve the system for Emergency and Weather Alerts only.
Information on crimes will, of course, still be provided – but not using SMS text alerts. The feedback from students helped the University Police determine that the Crime Alerts were being misconstrued as Emergency Alerts, and were potentially desensitizing students to these emergencies. For example, text alerts about crimes that posed no ongoing threat were confusing to recipients. University Police determined that, in order for the system to be most effective during a genuine emergency, it was important not to overuse the alert system with reports of crime when there was no continuing or immediate threat to campus safety.
The University, through its News and Information Service, will provide notices of crimes by sending out press releases, posting on WVUToday (http://wvutoday.wvu.edu), posting to campus Information Stations (digital signage network), MIX and Twitter. E-News will also be used to provide crime notices to faculty and staff. For parents and others off campus, follow WVUNews on Twitter.com to receive notices about crime on campus.
Click on the following link for more information about the Emergency Alert system and to sign up. http://emergency.wvu.edu/alert/
University Police believe that these changes will help keep everyone informed and will be the most effective way to alert the campus community of emergencies and imminent dangers. University Police will continue to make changes and improvements in an effort to make West Virginia University a safe environment for students, staff, faculty and visitors.