Montclair State Requires Students To Carry GPS Phones

Montclair State University in New Jersey has issued a rule requiring students to own and carry school-distributed cell phones equipped with location-marking GPS technology, the school announced.

The requirement is designed to add a layer of security for students, according to the school. A student threatened while walking on or near campus could activate a beacon on the cell phone. If the signal wasn't turned off after a predetermined period of time, campus security could use the GPS signal and Google Maps to locate the student.

The phones are automatically registered with the campus alert system and are capable of notifying students via text message of dangerous conditions, whether they be storms, power outages, or crimes underway on campus.

The phones, designed by Rave Wireless and Sprint, double as personal digital assistants and can be loaded with podcasts, lecture notes, and digital flash card study aids. Oh, and they can be used to actually talk to someone too.

So far, all calls into the police department to respond to student GPS beacons have been false alarms.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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