New Mexican university launches text alert program

As a response to recent events at schools in the country, Western New Mexico University (WNMU) announced recently that it launched a new bulk SMS alert system.

"In light of the ongoing safety concerns at universities across the country, we want to have every tool at our disposal for keeping our students and employees safe while on campus," Isaac Brundage, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, told the Silver City Sun News.

The system rolled out on Oct. 26, when school officials sent 4,000 messages to students, faculty and staff based on information already obtained by the university in internal documentation. For safety reasons, everyone who received that initial message was automatically enrolled into the system. Those who wish to opt out, or those who didn't get a message but would like to, can do so by updating their information in WNMU's internal database.

"This new tool will allow us to reach more users giving them the information as we get it," Abe Villarreal, Director of Communications told the Sun News.

Villarreal explained that their main campus is a safe one with very little crime, but implemented the system to help strengthen security around the school. In order to make sure alerts go out as soon as possible, three school departments can initiate an alert: campus police, student affairs and the communications department.

The school is also developing a different type of alert to compliment the new, bulk SMS system. WNMU is currently developing an auditory alert that will chime through its on campus bell tower. Officials are currently working on a new, emergency chime that will be heard whenever a text alert goes out. It currently chimes every half hour and can be heard all throughout campus and into the surrounding community.