The purpose of a text message alert system is to quickly send out time-sensitive information to the people who have signed up to receive it. These services have excelled at colleges and universities, where officials use it to immediately inform students of issues on campus like extreme weather or a bomb threat.
A recent article from the KATC, a Lafayette, Louisiana news outlet, covered a recent incident that happened at the University of Lafayette. Last week, a bomb threat was called in against the school and a campus-wide text alert and evacuation notice was released to all registered faculty and staff members' cell phones and students that were enrolled in summer school.
However, despite the efficiency with which the notification went out, there was a problem — a group of students did not receive the notification. These students were in or around campus at the time the text alert went out, but according to associate director of public safety Joey Pons, there was a very specific reason they did not receive them.
"By late Friday, we had received 15 notifications from students via email or Facebook that they did not receive the text alert," Pons said. "Upon examining their status, we found that none are enrolled in summer classes at the University."
He added that these students would live or work on campus but were not enrolled were at no greater risk as faculty evacuated buildings and residence halls, going door to door to ensure that everyone was notified.
The University is currently looking to upgrade its systems to ensure that all students can be included in the alert system if they are on campus, even if they are not enrolled.