Before 6 a.m. the morning after the severe Sept. 4 storm, staff members from The Northern Light received a text message from a leader at the Student Activities office informing us that school was canceled.
A TNL staff member posted the information on our Facebook page, and that was the most we could do to inform our peers about the closure.
Why didn’t UAA inform its students?
An email to students, which some never received to inform them that classes were canceled for the day. No text messages were sent to notify those without access to email in the power outage.
While inconvenient, this probably wasn’t too big of a deal for people. A few students or professors might have come to campus to find it closed and, probably grumbling, went back home for the day.
But what if it had been a different situation? What if there had been a serious threat on campus?
Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, which left 13 victims and two gunmen dead, there have been 180 school shootings in the United States.
July 20, a gunman killed 12 moviegoers at a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
These events point out one certain thing about our society: There is no guarantee of safety anywhere.
If this school is serious about keeping its students safe, it needs to invest in a program that will send a mass emergency text message to students and employees, informing them of essential university information.
After the Virginia Tech massacre April 16, 2007, which left 32 people and a gunman dead, the university was fined $27,500 for failing to notify its students in a timely fashion that a shooter was loose on campus.
The school emailed students twice, once at 9:26 a.m. and once at 9:50 a.m. The first email was a notification of an isolated shooting in a dorm room. The second email was about the rampant gunman, who lay dead in a classroom by 9:51 a.m.
The second message was, needless to say, too late to save anyone.
Quiz time: How many of you readers checked your university email today? How many of you checked it every day in the past week? If the university emailed you about a shooter on campus, would you have gotten it in time? Is that something UAA is willing to take a chance on?
Yes, it costs money to buy a system and plan for emergency situations on campus, but that money is well spent.
If the university is “working” on installing an emergency text messaging system, what exactly is the holdup?
They’ve had since 1999 to get a notification system together.
Everyone on campus is united in hoping an emergency will never happen at UAA, but that’s why it’s called an emergency. It could happen at any time, in any place — it could happen to you.
Can students afford to wait on an email?