DSU Uses Phone, Web To Notify Students of Shooting

Delaware State University notified students, faculty, and staff that it had canceled classes at its Dover campus after two students were wounded in a shooting that occurred shortly before 1 a.m. Sept. 21. One male victim is in stable condition, and the other female victim's injuries are considered serious.

With the lone, male suspect still at large, DSU leveraged its website and phone calls to tell students about the shooting and class cancellations, as well as to notify non-essential personnel not to report to work.

The university also posted notices in its dormitories to notify student residents, the protection of whom it declared a primary priority, about the shooting and instructed them to remain in their residence halls.

The school will update students, staff, and faculty on the situation using its Web site and via its "Snow Phone" line (302-857-SNOW).

The need for improved student emergency notification methods and tools was highlighted in the wake of the April 16 Virginia Tech shootings, in which Virginia Tech didn't notify students--via e-mail--until 9: 26 a.m., nearly two hours after the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, killed his first two victims.

Afterward, Virginia's review panel found in its August final report that Virginia Tech officials had erred in delaying notification of students after initially assuming the first shooting was an isolated incident. Cho went on to massacre 30 more people and injured 23 additional victims.

Since the Virginia Tech shootings, multiple higher education institutions in the United Sates have deployed various notification systems using communications methods such as automated outbound calls, text messaging, and email.

Campus Technology will provide updates on any new developments related to this story.

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About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

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