This blog has previously underlined the importance of quality text message alerts for school systems, especially when emergency information must be relayed in a short period of time. However, systems are not always perfect on their onset, and students on one college campus recently were dissatisfied with the effectiveness of their school's alerts.
According to Fox59, an Indiana-based news affiliate, Ball State University students received messages their first day back from spring break that there was possibly an armed gunman on campus. On Monday morning, university police received a call from a student who said she thought she had seen a man holding a gun as she walked back from the library.
One text alert read: "Man with gun seen north of bracken library a short time ago. Avoid the area. Secure in a safe place."
The last phrase it what confused many students, according to the news source.
"I was just really kind of confused because they didn't say whether or not we should go to our 9 o'clock classes or if we were supposed to stay where we were, if there was a lockdown or anything like that," said BSU senior Kayleigh Mohler, who lives off-campus.
University officials though, were adamant that they responded appropriately.
Joan Todd, the executive director of public relations with BSU, told the news source that emergency texts and emails were sent out immediately. According to Todd, the phrase 'secure in place' is explained in freshman orientation and various safety information brochures. It means students should find a safe location until an "all clear" signal is given.
When organizations partner with Swift SMS Gateway, they can ensure that SMS text alerts are created and formatted in a way that are understandable for all parties involved.