University of Cincinnati adjusts its emergency texts policy

Campus police officers at the University of Cincinnati understand the value of emergency texts. In an effort to enhance safety measures on the school’s premises, officials are adjusting policy to expand the university’s text alerts system.

The program was previously set so students could sign up by registering their cell phone numbers. However, the university’s database already contained the cell phone numbers for most students. Rather than making individuals re-register their numbers for text messages, the school is using the data at its disposal and sending emergency communications to every number in its possession.

Jeff Corcoran, the assistant police chief with the University of Cincinnati Police Department (UCPD) told The News Record that this was a necessary adjustment because there were not enough people signing up under the previous policy.

“One of our problems right now is that because we [had] an opt-in program, we had very low participation. Only about 20 to 25 percent of the student population was participating in [the emergency text message alert system],” Corcoran said. “To me it seems logical that [the university] will give you emergency information, unless you tell us you don’t want it.”

Students can easily opt-out of this program, but school officials see no reason for them to do so. Recipients are not slammed with unnecessary messages – they are only notified in the event of a true emergency. By reaching out to a larger number of people, the school is taking great steps to ensure the safety of every member of its student body.

Organizations that want to enhance their own efforts should consider a similar strategy. There are a number of factors – from weather-related events to criminal activity – that can jeopardize safety and implementing text alerts program will help mitigate serious risks. Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools needed to launch an effective initiative.