Emergency Messaging System to be Managed by Mobile Campus
Dec. 9, 2008
In order to streamline services and provide a single method for communicating with campus in the event of an emergency, UT Dallas administrators have selected Mobile Campus as the preferred method for alerting students, faculty and staff about situations that might affect normal business operations on campus.
Mobile Campus will take the place of the University’s Campus Alert system that was implemented last year. When needed, alerts will be delivered as a text message via a user’s mobile telephone.
“We thoroughly evaluated the two text messaging alert options in use on campus and decided that a single choice for communicating with students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency was the best way to go,” said Jim Gary, vice president and chief information officer at the University. “We have also worked closely with administrators at Mobile Campus to ensure that their service was user friendly and easy to operate.”
Members of the University community who are not enrolled in the service can sign up for the benefit anytime.
Mobile Campus alerts will be activated only in cases of emergency, unless other services — such as commercial offerings — are selected by the user. Emergency notifications will be simple and will include messages such as:
- Shelter in place. See homepage.
- Weather closing. See homepage.
- Evacuate (name of location).
- Lockdown (name of location). Shelter in place until further notice.
Mobile Campus messages will be restricted to fewer than 150 characters. Further information will generally be posted on the University’s homepage as soon as possible. Refer to the emergency closing memo for other means of gaining information in case of a campus closure.
Only select staff at UT Dallas will have the authority to decide whether a Mobile Campus alert message is needed. Examples that might warrant such an announcement include:
- Immediate threats to health and safety
- Fires, hazardous chemical spills or other emergencies that force lockdown or evacuation of one or more campus buildings
- Weather-related closures (See the Inclement Weather and Emergency Closing Procedures for details.)
- Unscheduled campus closings of an emergency nature
Outside of its emergency alert benefits, Mobile Campus may also be used as a communication tool for affinity groups such as student organizations, sports teams and other clubs.
Mobile Campus has partnerships with colleges and universities nationwide, including the University of Florida, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University, Kansas State University and New Mexico State University. The service works with all major U.S. carriers and on all mobile phones. As with any message sent to a mobile phone, users should be aware that standard text messaging rates may apply.
UT Dallas administrators will also continue to inform the campus of closings or other emergencies via the channels previously used, including e-mail, voice mail, the Web and by local radio and television broadcasts. The University also is investigating other methods of emergency notification with campus, including outdoor loudspeakers.
The Mobile Campus system is a commercially available service that was instituted on campus in 2006.
For more information about Mobile Campus at UT Dallas, http://www.utdallas.edu/alertfaq/.
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]