:: E-Alert, effective response to safety
It is safe to say that shock, alarm and horror were the main responses from the nation after the events at Virginia Tech. The tragedy, according to “Newsweek,” is the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
The incident took place on April 16, 2007, when student gunman Seung-Hui Cho opened fire on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., killing 32 people, including students as well as faculty members, and injuring many more.
Cho was previously accused of stalking two female students and was ruled mentally ill by a Virginia special justice.
The incident received international media attention and sparked many criticisms on American gun laws, safety responses and gaps in the U.S. system for treating the mentally ill.
The incident served as a wake-up call to college campus safety departments world-wide.
Throughout the mourning period that followed the tragedy, college safety departments began to brainstorm ways to keep their campuses better protected, and their students and faculty members safer.
Elon’s Campus Safety department joined this trend, and made some changes to increase the safety on campus during the summer.
The Campus Safety department hired additional fully-certified staff members and acquired additional vehicles that are smaller and are more versatile than their older counterparts.
The department also signed up for E-Alert, which allows the university to send urgent messages to student cell phones.
The new system, powered by Omnilert, enables Elon to send text messages to student phones as well as e-mails consisting of timely information concerning emergencies, weather information and class cancelations. The system will only send information in emergency situations.
Students and faculty members can register for the system on-line by visiting the Web site:
Once registered, students and faculty members can choose what specific information they would like to receive on their phones. However, regular text messaging fees apply to the new system, so students and faculty members should check with their cell phone carriers to see what their company rates are.
There is no charge for the service, and it is available to all students, faculty and staff members.
For additional information about the service, go to the Elon Campus Safety Web site on E-net.
Columnist: Angela Sparrow - 09/19/07