NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ794722
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar-5
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5411
Emergency Notification in an Instant
Galuszka, Peter
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v25 n2 p14-17 Mar 2008
In the past year, adding new security has "become like a religion." The business of electronic notification hadn't really gained much attention until the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon in 2001, killing more than 3,000 people. Critical attention on alerts got a huge boost after the Virginia Tech (VT) killings came out of nowhere. Yet, upgrades to accommodate emergency alerts on college campuses are actually harder than they might seem. It is technically difficult to issue simultaneous alerts on campuses that can be the size of small cities, so several systems at once must be used. One of them, text messaging, may be extremely popular with students, but the technology behind it is a lot less developed than for voice communication, and this can cause problems. Cost can be an issue because sometimes students from low-income families can't afford cell phones, which are key elements in the emergency notification process. For colleges and universities, the expense of added electronic alert systems doesn't seem that significant. It ranges from a few thousand dollars for a small college to about $100,000 per year for a major university. Despite the big upsurge of interest in emergency notification systems, only about 1,000 of the 4,000 or so colleges and universities in the United States are now involved. As more colleges sign up, more problems are identified. One problem is cultural and age-related. Students in their teens or twenties are comfortable with text messaging from their cell phones or instant messaging from their laptops. But if they haven't signed up for the university emergency alert service, they won't get the text message. And they might not be inclined to pick up a ringing telephone in a dorm room and get urgent information. Faculty members and administrators, on the other hand, seem more comfortable with telephone calls, voicemails or emails. The obvious solution is for schools to rig an alert system that reaches to all such areas. But even that solution has issues.
Cox, Matthews and Associates. 10520 Warwick Avenue Suite B-8, Fairfax, VA 20170. Tel: 800-783-3199; Tel: 703-385-2981; Fax: 703-385-1839; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A