Rowan’s alert and advisory systems have been plenty active lately, and the brief texts and emails have kept students safe and informed.
When a student threatened another student with a knife inside a residence hall on Jan. 30, Rowan students received texts, emails and saw tweets describing the suspect and informing students about what to do if they came into contact with him. Minutes later, many of us at The Whit had received texts and group messages from friends who saw the alert.
Later that night, the suspect was caught and no one was hurt.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, students were caught off-guard by alert texts and emails again when two students were assaulted outside of the Wellness Center at Winans Hall. This time the suspects were not immediately caught, but students were made aware of the incident within an hour after it occurred and no one else was hurt after the initial incident.
Obviously, we shouldn’t expect that one incident will always lead to another, or that every assault is just one in a string of assaults. We also shouldn’t assume that any future attacks were prevented by alerts in either of the examples provided. But Rowan’s ever-improving alert and advisory system seems to be getting quicker and more frequent, and should at least instill an extra feeling of safety in those navigating campus.
Being aware of crimes and attacks makes students more aware of incidents on their campus, and the speedy notifications direct students away from areas of interest and away from potential suspects. This makes it pivotal that students keep their names on the contact list, even though the alerts can seem annoying.
After the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, campuses nationwide had to reevaluate their alert systems and their ability to reach students in case of emergencies. The Rowan alert and advisory systems haven’t been tested in an active shooter incident, but what the system has been tested with so far this year shows that emergency preparedness is one way Rowan is keeping up with its growing student body.
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