UNC to get phone alerts

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  • UNC to get phone alerts

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UNC to get phone alerts

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<b>Text messages can notify police</b>

By: Katy Doll, Staff Writer
Posted: 4/20/07

UNC officials are implementing a phone system that alerts campus police when students are in danger.

Beginning this fall, the University will offer the Rave Guardian program, which uses a Global Positioning System timer to notify police of students&#39; locations when needed.

"You can set a timer on your phone that says: &#39;If I don&#39;t reset this timer, I want you to send a signal to campus police,&#39;" said Larry Hicks, director of the Department of Housing and Residential Education.

When the time expires, the phone alerts the student, and if it&#39;s not turned off, Rave contacts campus police, who can locate the phone using GPS technology.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, campus security is on everyone&#39;s mind, but UNC officials were planning to implement Rave Guardian before Monday&#39;s shootings.

UNC officials are in negotiations with different providers and do not know the exact costs associated with purchasing the program.

Hicks said the housing department plans to offer a reduced price on GPS phones to all on-campus students next year.

There will be a push for incoming freshmen to buy the phones, which will be promoted at C-TOPS.

The program is part of the Rave Wireless system, an existing service that allows students to receive text messages about Blackboard updates and bus routes. The service also has an emergency broadcasting system.

"We could basically send out a broadcast message to all the users of the Rave system," said Brian Payst, director of technology and systems support for the division of student affairs.

Students whose phones aren&#39;t equipped for the GPS program can use Rave&#39;s other features, such as emergency text messaging. Students can sign up at www.unc.edu/rave.

Rave was established as a pilot program at UNC last summer with a group of about 20 students and now has 364 students, Payst said.

The emergency system never has been used, but officials said they have completed tests of the system.

"We&#39;ve done tests, and they&#39;ve gone just fine," Payst said. "You log in and have a Web page, type in your message and hit send. It just takes minutes - seconds even."

Officials also said a campuswide siren system is on its way.

"It certainly wasn&#39;t intended to deal with what happened at Virginia Tech, but it can deal with that as well," said James Alty, director of facilities services.

Hicks said safety issues have been at the forefront of UNC&#39;s concerns.

"It&#39;s basically taking a little bit more emphasis as a result of Virginia Tech," he said. "People want to expedite the plans."

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.dailytarheel.com/media/storage/paper885/news/2007/04/20/University/Unc-To.Get.Phone.Alerts-2870650.shtml>The Daily Tar Heel - April 20, 2007</a>

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Katy Doll

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2007-07-16

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Sara Hood

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Kevin Schwartz <kschwartz@unc.edu>

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eng

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Katy Doll, "UNC to get phone alerts," in The April 16 Archive, Item #750, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/750 (accessed September 18, 2014).