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Virginia Tech students were emailed a warning… Useless. WHERE was the text message warning?

This is ridiculous as well. Absolutely ridiculous…

Link: Students claim they were told of shootings by email | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

The call to police about the first shooting took place at 7.15am yesterday, followed by another call after the second shooting at 9.45am – but the first email warning sent to students from university authorities only came at 9.26am.

The email sent to 36,000 students and staff gave few details. It said: “A shooting incident occurred at West Amber Johnston earlier this morning. Police are on the scene and are investigating. The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case.”

It wasn’t until later, at 9.55am, that a further email, warning students that a gunman was on the loose on the campus, was sent out, according to the university. It read: “A gunman is loose on campus. Stay in buildings until further notice. Stay away from all windows.”

The Universtiy management sent an EMAIL? An email? It’s not like every student is connected to a Blackberry email device. Who the hell is checking their email when there’s gunshots going off all over the place?

Just ridiculous. Email is just about the stupidest medium, apart from using a carrier pigeon, to inform 36,000 people immediately about a critical issue. People don’t check their email religiously. Especially not in the early morning, especially when you’re SAT IN CLASS. Text. Text text text. I don’t know WHAT the University management were thinking.

Every large institution should have some sort of text message update system for it’s key employees/students on campus.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “Virginia Tech students were emailed a warning… Useless. WHERE was the text message warning?”

Is a university or other organization going to have mobile numbers for all their students? Would I even want to give out my mobile number to a an organization? Do they even have proper email accounts for their students? They probably only sent to the VT email addresses, because anything else is just too hard to track. People didn’t get this to their GMail accounts or what-not.

If a university has identity numbers for all their students, it is logical to assume that they have their mobile numbers as well. We are living in 2007 and that would be a minimal requirement, as far as I am concerned.

There is no global directory of mobile numbers, and not everyone provides such information, or updates it when it changes. Same goes for email addresses outside of a business or college, etc. Not everyone has SMS either, or would check it while in class or their car, etc. Lots of people trying to blame something and lots of companies trying to make money off this. Sickening.

Nonsense, techjunkie — it’s incumbent on the students to subscribe. They just need to text ‘NEWS’ or ‘ALERTS’ to the University’s shortcode and they’re subscribed. Get a new phone? Just subscribe again.

Alternatively, every University has a central register of student home addresses and home phone numbers. A mobile number isn’t that difficult to catch.

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