Quinnipiac’s administration is taking steps to ensure that students will be safe if there is an emergency situation. Students will be required to either subscribe to or opt out of the school’s Wireless Alert System – which allows mass text messages to be sent out in the event of an emergency or school closing – if they want to register for classes in the fall.
“It’s the only way that we can get information to students real time as soon as possible,” Chief of Security John Twining said. “We can send voicemails, we can do e-mails, but people don’t necessarily get them right away, whereas text messages go right to the cell phone. And one thing almost everyone has is a cell phone.”
Associate Director of Facilities Keith Woodward said that it takes roughly three minutes from the time a message is sent for everyone subscribed to the service to receive it.
“That way if there is an emergency and we need to get information to students, if there is a Virginia Tech situation or something like that, or even a broken gas main. we can keep the students safer by keeping them away from the scene,” Twining said.
The Wireless Alert System is currently voluntary, with enrollment rates hovering around 55 percent.
“We’ve seen gradual increases as we’ve gone along,” Woodward said. “But we need students to make a decision.”
The registration link is posted on WebAdvisor as “QU broadcast alert system.” The site then allows you to put in either a phone number and a carrier, or check the box to decline the program. Registration for fall classes will not be possible until you have either registered or declined.
Woodward said that the university was also looking into “narrowcasting,” which would allow them to send different messages to specific groups of students.
“Obviously we’re going to have multiple campuses, so the message to the Mt. Carmel campus, where we’ve got, God forbid, an active shooter. may be different than what we send to North Haven,” Woodward said.
Nothing is definite, but Woodward said the University should have the ability to narrowcast messages by the time students return in August.