MU's active threat alerts raise concern on campus
COLUMBIA - After an active threat on MU’s campus, some are disappointed with the MU Alert system and question its ability to get details out in a timely manner.
MU Alert sent out its first tweet Wednesday at 11:23.
MU Alert reports an active threat near Hitt St/Locust St https://t.co/6BXzIBsDxU for confirmed details. Only call MUPD in an emergency— MU Alert (@MUalert) October 18, 2017
MU student Ethan Phillips said he felt like the alerts were coming after the information was spreading around campus.
MU Spokesperson Christian Basi said, “Obviously we always tell folks to be very careful about hearing things through other means other than official channels.”
A stream of tweets followed the initial MU alert outlining the appearance and location of the subject.
There were eleven tweets in all, but students like Phillips said people on campus still felt “out-of-the-loop.”
“We have fifty-thousand people on campus and that’s a lot of people who are going to make different decisions based on their own specific situation,” Basi said.
One of the updates went out a few minutes later.
11:38am update. Subject is possibly near Memorial Union. Take appropriate actions. Avoid the area. If you are there, stay inside.— MU Alert (@MUalert) October 18, 2017
“Different locations took the situation more seriously,” Phillips said.
He was at the Student Center lobby surrounded by around 200-250 people. An alarm sounded and everyone thought someone was stealing from the Student Center, he said.
Some people received text alerts while others did not. To receive text alerts, you must be registered.
“Everybody was kind of like sitting around like 'oh well, she ain’t coming in here,’” Phillips said. He did receive an alert.
Basi said, after the events Wednesday, MU Alert is discussing several new initiatives such as providing additional texts, being more specific when identifying certain locations on campus and providing specific directions to people.
Phillips suggests MU Alert use text alerts and tweet more often; preferably every two to three minutes.
As of right now, text alerts are only available to MU faculty, staff and students. Basi said he hopes to extend that to the rest of the local community in the near future.
He also recommends people utilize the MU Alert website for updates and other tools.
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