Staff Editorial: Updated contact information vital to personal safety
After the shooting at Virginia Tech, college campuses across the nation began to re-examine their safety procedures. In an attempt to make the most of technology and students’ love affairs with their cell phones, many implemented or refined text-message alerts.
In response to a student’s throat being slit at the University of Colorado in August, campus officials sent students a text message that read: "Stabbing at UMC/suspect in custody/terrace closed."
On Sept. 21, two students were shot at Delaware State University – the first campus shooting since the April shooting at Virginia Tech. Officials alerted students by phone, fliers, Web site notices and in person. While students were alerted, the incident once again illustrates the fact that college campuses are not, and will most likely never be, completely safe.
When the UH campus was closed on Sept. 12 and 13 because of Tropical Storm Humberto, students were notified by text message alerts, e-mails and phone calls. These alerts are a good step toward making our campuses safer, but using this type of technology to transmit messages is useless if students do not receive the alerts.
Love it or hate, UH uses PeopleSoft. Students must update their information on the Web site in order to receive important and potentially life-saving alerts. While reading a text message such as the one received by University of Colorado students is not the most pleasant experience, not receiving the alert puts students at a larger risk.
According to the New York Times, only 1,300 of the 28,000 students at Colorado State were signed up for text-message alerts at the time of the stabbing. Most students are glued to their cell phones or laptops and passing on vital information through these mediums is an excellent idea – students can be alerted almost immediately, but only if they have provided the correct e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
To update your contact information, visit my.uh.edu, log in and click "campus personal information" under UH Self Service.