UAA Q&A: The UA Alert system

There is more to the UAA campus than classes, student activities and sporting events. There are also emergencies.

Graphic by Michaeline Collins.

How does the UAA alert notification system work?

No emergency situation is the same and requires different reporting to students, staff, faculty and the public. The type of emergency determines what information is released and how it is shared.

Each type of alert has different criteria for reporting, according to the UAA Safety Notification Frequently Asked Questions.

  • “Emergency notifications are issued by UAA’s Incident Management Team in the event of certain emergency situations.”
  • “Timely warning notices are used to inform the campus community about the occurrence of crimes that pose an ongoing threat to the campus community and [alerts] are required by federal law under the Clery Act.”
  • “Seawolf Advisories may be issued to inform the community about other safety-related information that is not covered by the Timely Warning notices or Emergency Notification policies.”

“The emergency notification[s] and the timely warning [alerts] both fall under the Clery Act,” University Police Department Chief Jeff Earle said.

The Clery Act requires the reporting of specific crimes to the campus community. Officially known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, the Clery Act requires higher institutions like UAA to provide warnings to their campus community, and to collect, report and share collected information with the campus community, the Department of Education and the public.

Crimes required to be reported by the Clery Act include arson, murder and non-negligent manslaughter. Additional crimes and their definitions can be found in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report provided by UAA in the fall.

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“Emergency notifications are issued either by UPD or UAA’s Incident Management team, based upon confirmation of an immediate threat of life or safety,” Chief Earle said. “Those would be something along the lines like if we had an active shooter on the campus, [or] possibly a bomb threat.”

Other examples of emergencies that would utilize the emergency notification system are the November 2018 earthquake, gas leaks or fires, all of which UAA has experienced in the past 18 months.

When emergencies such as these occur, students, staff and faculty will receive information via email, telephone and texts from UA Alerts.

“[A] timely warning [notice] has to do specifically with the Clery Act reportable crimes, and the requirement is that the university evaluates each one of those instances as to whether or not it’s appropriate to release a notification to the community,” Chief Earle said.

Once a decision has been made by the Incident Management team to release the information, the necessary details will be provided to the campus community through email or the methods outlined under the emergency notifications requirements.

“The purpose of [releasing timely warning notices], as it relates to those specifically identified crimes, allows the community to take appropriate safety precautions,” Chief Earle said.

An example of the timely warning system in action would be an increased number of stolen vehicles on the campus. The UAA Incident Management team would work together to notify students, staff and faculty in order for the community to be aware that vehicle theft is currently an issue and to make sure their vehicle is secure.

“In an event like [increased vehicle thefts], we would consider communicating with the campus and saying ‘hey, here’s an uptick in something happening,’” Chief Earle said. “We want you to be aware and go from there to take safety steps.”

To receive information on timely warning notices or emergency notifications, students must make sure that their contact information is updated in the UAOnline system. The contact information listed in a student’s account will be the avenues of communication.

The Seawolf Advisories are used primarily for communicating information that will affect students, but are not required to report under the Clery Act and is not an immediate threat to life or safety. These advisories can encompass situations including winter weather advisories, road closures or building closures.

Seawolf Advisories are an opt-in program, and students must sign-up to receive the service. To sign-up, students will need to login to their UAOnline account and go to the personal information tab. In the dialogue box that appears, students can select the option to accept text messages and voice calls for non-emergency use.

“Safety is paramount. We do our absolute best to make sure that people are afforded the information they need to make safe choices,” Chief Earle said.

Chief Earle invites anyone looking for more information on safety and the UAA campus to reach out to UPD at their offices in the Eugene Short Hall, through email at [email protected] or by phone at (907) 786-1120.

Do you have a question about or for UAA? Send your questions to [email protected] and we’ll find the answer.