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Syracuse U Claims Success with Notification System; Some Students Say They Weren't Alerted

Syracuse University used the inEnterprise notification system from MIR3 to lock down its campus population immediately following a drive-by shooting several blocks from campus. According to the school's student newspaper, The Daily Orange, it was the first "real" alert sent to students after several practice runs. In news coverage of the incident some students said they didn't receive the text notification even though they were signed up for the service, which was put in place in 2007.

The university's department of public safety (DPS) issued an alert to campus to stay in place and communicated instructions via text, e-mail, and phone to 27,600 registered students, faculty and staff members. The notification instructed recipients to seek immediate shelter, lock doors, and wait for further instructions. In a statement, MIR3 said all text-issued notifications were successfully delivered within five minutes.

About 45 minutes after the first notification was sent, DPS initiated a second notification, lifting the campus alert, when it was clear there no longer was a potential threat to the campus population as assessed by the Syracuse Police Department and DPS.

"It is extremely important Syracuse is able to quickly notify its campus population during an emergency," said Ron Kurdziel, director of telecommunications IT and services. "We are pleased the MIR3 system performed and functioned as expected in this situation and was efficient in aiding in the safety of our students, faculty, and staff."

The Daily Orange reported on apparent gaps in the service. One student said he never received the text message, even though he had registered for it, because he doesn't have cell phone reception in three of his classes. He learned about the shooting from a friend. Other students who signed up to receive e-mail notification didn't receive messages until an hour later, when the lockdown had already been lifted.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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