Sign up for new text alert system

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Sign up for new text alert system

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Issue Date:Monday October 15, 2007
Section: Editorial Section

Six months after the tragedy at Virginia Tech, West Virginia University and others institutions across the country have taken positive steps to reevaluate their security approaches, but there is still work to be done.

On Friday, the University president, student body president and head of the campus police announced a new system to send text messages and e-mail alerts in the case of crimes, weather delays and closures, and other emergencies at WVU. Everyone is encouraged to sign up now for the service at <a href="http://emergency.wvu.edu">http://emergency.wvu.edu</a>.

University President Mike Garrison has a history of emphasizing security at WVU. When he was president of the student body in the early 1990s, he worked on lighting issues around campus, as well as block captains and watch programs in Sunnyside. And now, as president, he is moving in the right direction.

But the system doesn&#39;t solve everything.

The University has a history of suppressing the true number of crimes it is required by federal law to report. Three years ago, Security on Campus, Inc., a watchdog group, filed a federal complaint against WVU for crime misreporting and said the University&#39;s behavior represented "the worst case of corruption we have encountered to date."

Hopefully all the problems have been worked out. But it&#39;s hard to be sure if the University is doing better or worse on campus safety issues if we can&#39;t rely on figures from the past.

Nor has the administration made good choices about weather cancellations and delays. In March, the University canceled classes for a snowstorm only after power had been lost and restored on the Evansdale Campus, the PRT had been unreliable or shut down, buses ran behind schedule and professors and students endured a dangerous day of trying to make it to class or sitting in nearly empty classrooms.

These are not things that a new text system will solve - this is decision-making and the decision about what to do in a situation has nothing to do with the ability to announce it.

Hopefully no one ever gets a message that there is a fire or shooting. But, if the unfortunate should happen, the language of the text should be as clear and concise as possible.

Casual text message language, replacing numbers for letters and abbreviations that don&#39;t make sense should be avoided.

Remember that officials at Virginia Tech said their campus was safe after the first death in the morning. Then there were 31 more.

It&#39;s good that the University has entered a new era and is getting in touch with students via the medium of our time. We just hope they also change their approach and utilize this new message system properly.

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Original Source: The Daily Athenaeum
<a href="http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=30553">http://www.da.wvu.edu/show_article.php?&story_id=30553</a>

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Editorial Staff

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Date

2008-02-18

Contributor

Kacey Beddoes

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Leann Ray <Leann.Ray@mail.wvu.edu>

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eng

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Editorial Staff, "Sign up for new text alert system," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1701, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1701 (accessed August 30, 2014).