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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    More students join emergency texting service

    Since the UA’s emergency textmessaging system debuted on Oct. 8, the service has attracted 9,683 users who have signed up to receive emergency text messages on their cell phones, said UAPD Officer Brian Seastone.

    However, certain criteria must be met before officers, or the UA Campus Emergency Response Team, are allowed to activate the system, Seastone said.

    “”It is used based on the nature of the emergency; violent activity, hazardous material leak, major fire, or a building closure that will last two hours or more or weather and power outages,”” he said. “”Also, an immediate threat to the UA community or an off-campus event, like a riot on Fourth Avenue.””

    Although the UA has yet to activate the service, neighboring colleges have been able to put the emergency text-messaging system into use.

    Northern Arizona University used its system when the Flagstaff Police Department chased an armed person onto campus and Arizona State University used its system when there was a fire in the ASU student union.

    Dylan Shorthouse, a mining engineering senior, signed up for the text service as a precaution.

    “”I was a little shaken up by the Virginia Tech incident and how slow communication was,”” he said. “”I thought that this might help if there was a real emergency on campus. Then I would know about it.”” In the month that Shorthouse has been signed up for the emergency text messaging he said he has not received any “”spam texts,”” a sign he thinks is positive.

    “”Communication is key these days and I think most college students would go for a texting alert system,”” he said.

    Aimee Kocinski, a communications senior, signed up for the emergency text-messaging for similar reasons after the UA issued a listserv message about the service on Oct. 19. “”The day of the stabbing in the residence hall at UA, there was an e-mail sent out, but I did not receive that e-mail until I was already on campus,”” she said. Kocinski, like many other students, does not check her e-mail until she gets to campus and said she thinks the text service is a better way to relay important information.

    “”I don’t think most people are constantly checking their email,”” she said. “”You would not know when to check your e-mail to be notified about an emergency, but you can receive a text message at any time and be notified immediately.””

    Another all campus message through the listserv, similar to the one President Shelton sent on Oct. 19 to advocate the service, will be sent out in the beginning of the spring semester and again during summer orientation, Seastone said.

    Campus community members who wish to sign up for the emergency text-messaging system can go to the UA home page and click on “”Sign up for UA Alert”” at the lower right-hand corner.

    A NetID and a cell phone are required to register.

    Jordan Handler, a journalism junior, found the process very simple.

    “”I just typed in my phone number and a text message was sent right to my phone saying that it was activated,”” she said. “”I would absolutely recommend people sign up for the texting. Why not? It is incredibly easy and I do not see a downside.””

    Handler said she thinks having more than 9,000 students sign up for the textmessaging
    system is a decent number, but not good enough on a campus of this size.

    “”To the people who have not, I would, sadly, use the words of Nike, and say ‘Just Do It’, “” she said.

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