Area colleges updated alert systems after Virginia Tech


Area colleges updated alert systems after Virginia Tech


Published Friday, February 15, 2008

Springfield-area colleges have systems in place to alert students to campus emergencies, and most procedures have been updated or were instituted originally in the wake of campus shootings at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., last spring.

Thursday's shootings at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb brought the importance of those procedures to the forefront again.

"It's just awful," said Mike Underwood, spokesman for MacMurray College in Jacksonville. "Something like that really hits home."

The University of Illinois at Springfield, Illinois College in Jacksonville and Blackburn College in Carlinville all have some type of emergency notification system where students can receive e-mails, cell phone messages or other electronic notification should there be an emergency on campus.

Michelle Green, spokeswoman for UIS, said the school had a call from one parent within an hour of the NIU shooting expressing concern.

UIS sent out a campuswide message to faculty, staff and students late Thursday afternoon urging them to sign up for the UIS Emergency Notification System it implemented last month.

The university's chancellor or provost, chief of police or someone assigned the task sets the notification system in motion, Green said.

Lincoln Land Community College recently updated its emergency procedures in response to the Virginia Tech incident, said spokeswoman Lynn Whalen.

In addition to having armed campus police on duty 24 hours a day, LLCC has installed emergency phones in each classroom and has enabled all classroom doors to be locked from the inside.

"We also have a good counseling and referral system should anyone need that kind of help," Whalen said.

Jim Murphy, Illinois College spokesman, said more than 400 of IC's 1,000 students signed up to receive e-mail or text-message alerts last fall.

"It was a response to Virginia Tech and established a way to get information to students, faculty and staff as soon as possible," he said.

Blackburn College has an on-campus siren and a system to notify people via e-mail and on the college's Web site.

"When something like this happens, we always review the manual," said Rusty Ingram, public relations director at Blackburn. "We have security procedures we go through, and we can lock down the entrances to campus."

Ingram said the shootings at Virginia Tech "made us more aware," although he believes that because almost all Blackburn students have jobs on campus, they may be more aware.

"Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to the people at Northern today," he said. "We have a chapel on campus if students here want to talk about it."

Staff writer Sarah Antonacci contributed to this report. Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510.

On the Web

For more information on the UIS Emergency Notification System, students can go to

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A previous version of the story misstated the number of students who have signed up for Illinois College&#39;s emergency alert system. The correct number is 400.

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CHRIS DETTRO and Sarah Antonacci




Kacey Beddoes


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CHRIS DETTRO and Sarah Antonacci, “Area colleges updated alert systems after Virginia Tech,” The April 16 Archive, accessed June 21, 2024,